Sunday, 21 October, 2018

Diet Coke gets biggest makeover ever in bid to restore cachet

Nellie Chapman | 13 January, 2018, 06:59

In Nielsen figures cited by Cowen & Co analyst Vivien Azer last week, diet CSDs were down 4% in volumes for the 12 weeks to 30 December, outpacing overall CSD falls. Ultimately, Diet Coke landed on four flavors that received the most positive consumer responses.

What is interesting about the declines is that they persevere despite overall trends for health and wellness in the U.S. market.

It paid dividends for the soft drinks giant, resulting in a 27% sales uplift above the national forecast. Additionally, new flavors have been added, including Ginger Lime, Feisty Cherry, Zesty Blood Orange and Twisted Mango. Meanwhile, the whole range has been repackaged in sleek 12oz slimline cans. "And most importantly, we wanted to stay true to the essence of Diet Coke while recasting the brand for a new generation".

There are other likely reasons for the revamp.

Zero Sugar launched in April 2016, since when it has been largely responsible for the growth of the Coca-Cola portfolio.

This isn't the only recent change to Coca-Cola's lineup of zero-calorie sodas.

The new range is only available in the United States and while Coca-Cola "never says never", AdNews understands there are no plans to bring the new look and flavours Down Under. Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey said in July previous year that the Coke Zero rebrand accelerated global volumes growth for the line from mid-single digits to somewhere in the teens.

The new US Diet Coke packaging shift seems to contradict its previous message. Coca-Cola Bottling Co Consolidated has a one year low of $162.30 and a one year high of $249.54.

Acevedo said Diet Coke and its new flavors complement the brand's no-calorie cousin, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar. With this week's overhaul, Diet Coke appears to have made a break from the pack - at least in the US. A slightly refined typography simultaneously preserves Diet Coke's heritage, but presents it in a more progressive manner, the company said. "It visualizes how the Diet Coke brand, the innovation - and the consumers who love Diet Coke - are continually on the move, with confidence".

Whether this will happen in other markets is not yet clear.

The company spoke to more than 10,000 people from across the country to get their ideas and inputs on potential flavor extensions, packaging updates and more. "We even hosted a mixology session in Atlanta where we invited fans to ideate, create and taste Diet Coke flavours we were considering".