Thirsting for millennials’ favor, Diet Coke gets rebranded

By Ted Kitterman | Posted: January 12, 2018

The Coca-Cola Co. wants more millennials to drink Diet Coke.

Amid claims that Big Soda is contributing to an obesity epidemic, the beverage company is attempting to change the narrative surrounding its products with an extensive overhaul of one of its key products.

USA Today reported:

As the soda industry continues to take heat from public-health critics, Coca-Cola is launching four new flavors of Diet Coke aimed at Millennials.

The iconic no-calorie drink will come in Ginger Lime, Feisty Cherry, Zesty Blood Orange and Twisted Mango, the company announced Wednesday.

The new flavors are slated to hit stores shelves nationally on Jan. 22 in a new skinny 12-ounce can.

“Millennials are now thirstier than ever for adventures and new experiences, and we want to be right by their side,” Rafael Acevedo, Coca-Cola North America’s group director for Diet Coke, said in a statement. “We’re contemporizing the Diet Coke brand and portfolio with sleek packaging and new flavors that are appealing to new audiences.”

The company posted the news in its online newsroom, highlighting the extensive process it underwent to research and develop the new flavors.

It wrote:

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. From these insights, Coca-Cola’s R&D team developed and tested more than 30 Diet Coke flavor combinations, featuring tropical, citrus and even botanical notes. Ultimately, Diet Coke landed on four flavors that received the most positive consumer responses.

It also shared the news on social media.

The company is unabashed about catering to Generation Y’s love of visual platforms.

On Instagram, the new flavors have gotten a mixed reaction. Some users say the flavors are mind-blowing; others complain that the company is messing with perfection:

diet coke + new ginger lime diet coke. that’s a flavor triple threat.

A post shared by Diet Coke (@dietcoke) on

[RELATED: Learn how to boost buzz, build brand recognition and engage employees on the hottest social media platforms.]
By putting the beverage in a slender can, the company also hopes to convey a “premium” feeling to the consumer.

Adweek wrote:

While slender cans may function as a kind of subliminal cue to the low-calorie beverage inside, Cola-Cola North America’s group director for Diet Coke Rafael Acevedo told Adweek that his team chose the new cans for another reason. “It makes the brand feel more contemporary,” he said. “It modernizes the brand and makes it feel very premium.”

Coca-Cola’s team has emphasized that the new diet flavors will not replace the original formula on shelves, a nod to the disastrous New Coke campaign of the 1980s.

Adweek continued:

“We’ve had the opportunity to learn through the years that if you have something great you don’t mess with that,” Acevedo said. “We know we have a loyal following that loves the taste and we want it to be super clear that we don’t want to change that great taste.”

Whether Diet Coke’s enhanced flavors and slender new package prompt a sales boost is now, literally, in millennials’ hands.