Coca-Cola Just Made a Major Announcement That Will Change Your View of the Brand (for the Worse, Perhaps)

Now, why would Coke do this?

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BY Chris Matyszczyk - 12 Jan 2018

Coca-Cola Just Made a Major Announcement That Will Change Your View of the Brand (for the Worse, Perhaps)

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

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


Coca-Cola slipped on its Levi's and gazed out of the window at the cool kids.

Coke used to be cool once.

Now, the lines are showing and they're not from laughter.

Somehow, Coke doesn't quite have the, as consultants with spiky hair like to say, relevance anymore.

So it's doing what too many people its age sink to.

It's launching prettier versions of itself.

Specifically of its Diet Coke.

Please offer as sympathetic a welcome as you can to Diet Coke Ginger Lime, Diet Coke Feisty Cherry, Diet Coke Zesty Blood Orange and Diet Coke Twisted Mango.

Look, aren't they lovely?

Of course, the old (tired) Diet Coke will remain.

But these bright new things are clearly supposed to look like the result of an early-morning fling between a Diet Coke can that's been on the shelf for a while and a La Croix can that was just bored that night.

Please let me offer a clue as to why Coke is doing this, by offering the words of Rafael Acevedo, Coca-Cola North America's group director for Diet Coke.

"We're modernizing what has made Diet Coke so special for a new generation. The same unapologetic confidence still comes through and the same great Diet Coke taste people love is here to stay, but we're making the brand more relatable and more authentic," he said in a press release.

Why would you modernize something that's already so special?

If it's so special, why is it not relatable? Has it become too special?

And how, I hear you ululate, do you make something more authentic?

It's either authentic or it isn't. You can hardly inject authenticity into, oh, the real thing.

Collagen may puff up your lips a little, but it doesn't make you look more authentic.

You've probably already guessed who isn't drinking Diet Coke anymore. But I'll let Acevedo himself spell it out.

"Millennials are now thirstier than ever for adventures and new experiences, and we want to be right by their side," he said.

Some might translate this as: "Millennials aren't drinking Diet Coke, so we thought we'd give them something to Instagram."

Now, for all I know these new flavors -- Feisty Cherry, eh? -- will attract millennials even more than their phones.

I worry, though, that this seems a touch reactive, rather than, say, revolutionary.

Consumers can smell fear. Moreover, campaigns to tax sugary drinks have had a negative effect on the Coke brand as a whole.

I understand that Diet Coke sales may be slumping a touch. Old age can do that to you.

Perhaps, though, these new flavors -- Zesty Blood Orange, eh? -- will feel like a turntable that's been created by a truly hip DJ.