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Why Coca-Cola could be about to wave goodbye to its product colours

Coca-Cola has heavily hinted that it will phase out the colours associated with its product variants such as Coke Life (green) and Coke Zero (black) as it looks to assimilate its brands under one umbrella.

The drinks giant trialled the ‘One Brand’ strategy in Great Britain (GB) last year to leverage the Coca-Cola brand to boost sales of sugar free variants such as Coke Zero and Diet Coke in the wake of weak sales and health concerns, and yesterday (19 January) announced the company will take that strategy globally.

Speaking at the press conference in Paris, vice president, global creative and content, Rodolpho Echeverria, also revealed that strategy will more than likely include scrapping the colours consumers have come to associate with such drinks and adjusting the packaging.

“Eventually we will, but what we are presenting today is just the communication campaign… it’s pretty generous and pretty abundant, and it will allow us to kick it off and serve the next three or four months until we come with new surprises. The whole philosophy is about new surprises so that we keep the message fresh.”

When probed further on whether Coca-Cola will eventually shift its packaging design and communications to the iconic red, Echeverria would not confirm or deny, but admitted it would “make a lot of sense” under the new strategy.

“The red and the contour bottle are elements that belong not only to Coca-Cola original it belongs to all of them and it should be shared across the entire campaign. We are starting by putting the red disc in every communication and everyone will be locked in by ‘Taste the Feeling’”.

Coke’s GB strategy

In Great Britain Coca-Cola is set to double its investment in its newest sugar free variant Coke Zero to raise consumer awareness of its health benefits and turn around the flat sales the drinks giant is currently battling.

In the GB market Coca-Cola has focussed much of its marketing efforts around the product and last year placed Coke Zero front and centre of its Rugby World Cup Sponsorship. The push comes in response to the fact that many consumers are still unaware that the drink is sugar free – a vital issue for the drinks giant given the media attention and health trends around the reduction in consumption of the sweet stuff.

Also speaking in Paris at the launch of the ‘One Brand’ strategy, Coca-Cola’s Great Britain and Ireland marketing director Bobby Brittain said that investment in the variant will more than double, following stricter cost control measures for marketers introduced by the business in 2014 in an attempt to create $1bn in cost savings globally by creating campaigns centrally.

“Not enough of the population know about [the benefits of] Coke Zero so we need the percentage of people who know that Coke Zero has no sugar to go up and we will leverage the Coca-Cola brand to do that. The oft used phrase is that there is no meaning without difference, and unless we can point to Coca-Cola and say that Coke Zero is different standing next to it because it doesn’t have any sugar in it makes it much harder,” he said.

“The media spent on the Coca-Cola trademark since 2014 will be nearly double – 75 per cent higher. Coke Zero’s share of that investment is also doubling in the UK and Diet coke is also going up, but Coke Zero will disproportionally benefit from the 75 per cent increase so the biggest growth, the biggest increases and the biggest spend that we will make will be on Coke Zero.”

Natalie Mortimer

Natalie is The Drum's fashion, design, luxury and food & drink reporter.

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