Coca-Cola refreshes can designs to highlight flavor portfolio

Linda J. Dodson

Dive Brief:

  • Coca-Cola has redesigned the packaging of its flavored products and their zero-sugar counterparts, according to a press release. The Flavors line includes Cherry, Vanilla and Cherry Vanilla products.
  • Full-color cans will correspond to single flavors, while stacked colors will mean dual flavors. In addition, full-sugar drinks will have a bold Coca-Cola logo in white while zero sugar drinks will have the logo in black.
  • Consumers can enter for a chance to sample the new cans, plus the newly released Coca‑Cola with Coffee Mocha flavor, with some consumers in the Chicago, Los Angeles and New York areas receiving the products via robot deliveries.

Dive Insight:

Coca-Cola’s latest packaging refresh attempts to streamline a growing range of Coke products that includes flavors like Cherry Vanilla and both full-sugar and zero sugar options with new rules around can and logo colors.

“We wanted to modernize and simplify the look of our packaging to help consumers find the flavor they’re looking for on the shelf through a colorful but clean packaging design,” Natalia Suarez, senior brand manager of Coke Choice Portfolio, Coca‑Cola’s North America Operating Unit, said in a statement.

The brand debuted the first phase of the packaging change last summer when it refreshed the look and taste of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar. In addition to a new can design, the “Best Coke Ever?” integrated campaign ran across a variety of traditional and digital channels and included sampling fridges that could be unlocked via QR code. In September 2021, Coca-Cola refreshed the brand platform for its Coke trademark and launched the “Real Magic” platform to emphasize the unexpected moments of togetherness between people in a connected yet divisive world.

The refreshed Flavors line and new Coca-Cola with Coffee variety will be sampled through a variety of robotic, on-demand and contactless delivery solutions. Along with a fleet of self-driving robotic vehicles in select markets that deliver in less than an hour, consumers can receive a box of the new products via an on-demand delivery program that delivers in three to seven business days. Last year, Coca-Cola partnered with Walmart to deliver packs of its Coca-Cola with Coffee product via drone delivery.

In addition to the updated cans, Coca-Cola with Coffee Mocha will hit shelves next month following previous flavors Dark Blend, Vanilla, Caramel and Vanilla Zero Sugar. The expansion of the ready-to-drink coffee beverage line comes as Coca-Cola seeks additional opportunities for consumers to engage with and purchase the brand.

“We set out to grow occasions for the Coke brand during the mid-afternoon lull when we want a pick-me-up,” Brandan Strickland, brand director, Coca‑Cola Trademark, said in a statement. “Because we know that while there’s nothing better than a 3 p.m. ice-cold Coke, we are competing with coffee during these break moments.”

The refresh comes as other CPG brands start 2022 with new product designs as they prepare for an uncertain year that will likely face pandemic-spurred challenges. Anheuser-Busch this week updated its visual identity to be more premium and forward-looking than before, while M&M’s is updating its branding to put a larger emphasis on inclusivity and belonging.

Coca-Cola topped analyst estimates in its last quarterly earnings report, growth which chairman and CEO James Quincey attributed to the company’s transformation agenda that revolves around more efficient and effective marketing as well disciplined, intelligent innovation. The company will hold its Q4 2021 earnings call on Feb. 10.

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