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THE INC. LIFE

Coca-Cola Just Did Something Huge That It Hasn’t Done For 10 Years. It’s Crazy (Or Maybe Brilliant)

Is this something that will alter Coke’s fortunes? You decide.

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BY Chris Matyszczyk - 10 Feb 2019

coca-cola did something huge

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.

 

Please lie here on my purple chaise-longue and we'll free associate.

Well, you will.

When I say Coke, what's the first thing that comes to mind?

No, no. Coke with a capital C.

Outdated, did I hear you say? You wouldn't let your kids drink it? Excellent with a large dollop of rum?

You might be tempted to believe that Coke -- as is the case with many sweet, carbonated drinks -- seems to have gone the way of other old-fashioned items such as ties and democracy.

Yet in certain parts of its business that's not the case. The enticingly named Coca-Cola Zero Sugar appears to be doing quite well.

Perhaps encouraged that things aren't quite so desperate -- well, not as desperate as Pepsi's dreadfully whiny Super Bowl ad -- Coke is actually releasing a new product.

Actually [begins to whisper] a new variant of Coca-Cola. For the first time in more than 10 years.

Please welcome, if you dare, Orange Vanilla Coke.

This is not a new Coke. Well, not a New Coke, the company hopes.

You'll remember when Coke tried to mess with its recipe and ended up only messing with its brand image?

Well, this is nothing like that. Coke hopes.

Instead, it's an attempt to, oh, be interesting or something.

Actually, the company's brand director for Coca-Cola, Kate Carpenter, explained the strategy like this:

The growth of Cherry Coke and Vanilla Coke -- and their zero-calorie variants --has been really strong in recent years even with very limited marketing support.

In essence, then, Americans want variety. Continued Carpenter:

This showed us our fans want choice but are getting it outside the Coke Trademark. We knew we had an opportunity to give fans the variety they crave without sacrificing the Coca-Cola taste they love.

Some might choose to translate this as:

My spouse keeps having affairs and I need to make myself exciting again.

You'll be enraptured when I tell that that the company considered three other variants too: Ginger, Lemon and Raspberry.

But it chose Orange Vanilla for a reason that might make you want to stay indoors for a while and dream of a summer in Tahiti.

Here's some more of Carpenter's corporate cacophony:

We wanted to bring back positive memories of carefree summer days. That's why we leaned into the orange-vanilla flavor combination -- which is reminiscent of the creamy orange popsicles we grew up loving, but in a classically Coke way.

I thought leaning in was a touch discredited these days.

And so, as you remain on my purple chaise-longue, do you now dream of your long-gone creamy orange popsicle?

Or are you desperate for a beer?

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