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June 2005

Comments

Nick

All that talk and not one comment about the taste. Have you tried it? I have and I definitely like it better than Diet Coke. It tastes better to me, so that's what I get now. It has brought me back to the Coke name because I always liked Diet Pepsi better than Diet Coke. They've at least gotten one customer back.

Ken

I am a diehard Coke drinker. Cant go three days without it. I agree that there are too many brands of Coke out there, but if the people like it, we should just let it be. if all the brands arent helping the company any more than the orginal, too bad for them eh? What really matters is that people like me enjoy the products they come out with, and if we dont, lets hope they dissappear

Jason

Coke Zero is made from the Coca Cola Classic Formula, thus it tastes more like coke. This is the "real" Diet Coke that should have been introduced 20 years ago. Diet Coke is based on the "new coke" formula and that is why it doesn't taste anything like Coke Classic. You can get this information from the Coke website.

Diet Coke drinkers will probably not like Coke Zero as it tastes like Coke Classic and remember Diet Coke doesn't taste anything like classic.

While Coke Zero is a diet drink and does taste diet, it resembles regular coke quite well. I think it will be here to stay.

Josh

Cocacola Zero is the bomb! I love it. It does not taste anything like Diet Coke. I was a diehard coke drinker forever. I needed to lose a few pounds so I switched to Diet Sodas. Cocacola Zero is heaven sent. It is all I drink and Coke has won me back since I liked Diet Pepsi more then Dietcoke.

Chris

Diet coke was never meant to taste like Regular Coke. New coke was the same formula as Diet coke, but with sugar/HFCS trying to rival Pespi with a sweeter tasting beverage. Coca cola Zero is formulated after the original Coca Cola, but with zero Calories. So Diet coke and Coke Zero are Two totally different products. End of story, no conspiracy theory here people. geez!

UncleArthur

I welcomed Diet Coke w/Splenda with gusto and was pleased. I tried Coke Zero and was overjoyed! Aspartame and Ace K go together well! I am buying this product for the taste. I could care less about the target group. I'm as loyal as my taste buds will allow. Realistcally that's what matters...taste and personal pref.

I still drink TAB when I can find it. It's formula has changed over the years but it still rocks!

Taste Coke Zero

You have to taste Coke Zero to understand that it is MUCH DIFFERENT than Diet Coke - marketing ploy or not it tastes JUST LIKE Coke Classic.

d.dave

crystal pepsi was the SHIT SON! cmon!

Darren Contardo

Coke is the new Tylenol. With so many brand extensions, I'm getting confused. I just want Coke...they own the category, why make me think about it? It seems that too many marketing managers can't figure out that innovation is built into the product, which markets itself. Nothing like running on the coat tails of an existing brand...more like the lazy man's way for marketing.

What is the difference between zero and diet coke? How about diet coke and diet coke sparkle? How about they get the brand managers all in one room so they can figure out that they are all selling the same products.

What's the real reason for this zero product (why call a brand zero?)...how about protection of market share from Pepsi with their Pepsi One brand. Tit for tat once again.

Andy

I just tried Coke Zero this weekend and think it is great! Finally a diet soda that tastes like the real thing!

Eddy

You don't get it. I don't blame Coke a bit for trying new things and discovering what people want. There's nothing wrong with putting something out there and failing every now and then. They've been around over a hundred years. I don't think they're going away anytime soon. I think Zero will be a hit. I tried it several times and I love it. As a previous Classic drinker who loves to drink soda but doesn't want the calories...it's perfect. Kudos to Coke.

Bram Pitoyo

Yes, that maybe true. However, it may not make any profit for Coke, who obviously has spent millions on research on Zero.

Why?

Because the peoduct is not different enough. People who drink them is the same people who previously drunk Diet/C2. Yes, it may generate more sales in the beginning. But in the end, it all evens out for coke. The same amount of people generating the same amount of sales for the company, only this time they're SPLIT BETWEEN Diet, C2, and Zero. It's like having to manage three $2,000 bank accounts rather than having one account with $6,000 inside. I know this is not quite the correct metaphor. But well, I hope you get what I meant.

I'd say "Why mess with success?" like Laura wrote.

Scott M

Oh... and one more thing. In the past, when I've been concerned about my weight or getting in shape for a sport or something, I've always just given up soda altogether. There's too much sugar in regular soda, and I hated the taste of diet. So Coke figured out a way to get me to keep buying soda even when I'm on a stricter work-out regimine. That's why this move makes sense. Diet Coke drinkers will continue drinking Diet Coke... but people like me will drink Coke Zero instead of abstaining from sodas.

Scott M

Sorry to barge in on your blog... but I did a google search on "Diet Coke vs. Coke Zero", and it brought me here. I don't know how well the over-all strategy is going, but I know that C2 and Coke Zero introduced me, a long-time Classic Coke drinker into the world of diet soft drinks without me even realizing I was being had. I'm a 28 year old male who used to hate the taste of diet colas and swore I'd never drink them. But then C2 came along. It was kinda half-way between diet and regular, but didn't have the aspartame aftertaste. So I gave up classic for C2.

Then I decided to try to get in better shape for soccer and thought I'd give Diet Coke with Splenda a shot. The splenda aftertaste is not quite so bad as the aspartame taste. Then I came across Coke Zero and decided to try it. By this time, I had gradually weened myself off of the super sweet taste of Classic Coke, so the transition to aspartame seemed less harsh. So now, I'm essentially drinking something that tastes just like the Diet Coke I used to hate, but I don't feel like such a pansy drinking it. I realize that nutritionally, it's identical to Diet Coke. That's why I was Googling it, to see if I could figure out if the only difference is the label. But whether it's a different formula or a just a different label, Coke converted me. I still think they're master marketers... they got me to tolerate that gawdawful taste of aspartame.

Bram Pitoyo

Core values. Reminded me of the company HP who re-merged their printer and computer department not long ago, only 4 months after those were splitted into two. Seems that they finally realized that computers DO NOT equal HP. Printers do.

And if Zero is really from Coke, I think they will stay on the shelves. But will it actually generate enough sales for the company? We'll see.

Robert

As a long time fan of Diet Coke, I have to say that Coke Zero is the worst tasting Coke since C-2. Yuck! Don't they test market this stuff?

Scott Miller

It's easy to predict CZ will fail. It's a no-brainer. No different than Crystal Pepsi, or Berry Pepsi, or C2. These drinks either veer too far away from the core perception of the brand (a clear cola!?!?), or they're not sufficiently differentiated (C2 and CZ are prime examples).

I don't drink sodas myself (extremely unhealthy, especially diet sodas that use aspartame, a known poison that causes micro-perforations to the brain, which is why so many drinkers of it get headaches) but I checked out the ingredients list of a Diet Coke vs. CZ, and they're nearly identical, except Diet Coke has aspartame listed before phosphoric acid, and with CZ the listing is reversed. I suspect, therefore, that Diet Coke is a little sweeter. But for the most part it appears the differences between the two colas relate more to perception rather than actual taste.

Bram Pitoyo

In my opinion, no, it's not like brand extension is a guaranteed blunder for the product. But the chance for the product to actually succeed and "cross the chasm" is so small it's not even worth spending millions of dolar in product research and promotion.

That's what I think. But having never been a fan of soda drinks, it's not in my place to predict Zero's success.

Laura, what do you think?

Rod

This is NOT "just" marketing. Everyone here is arguing the marketing merits of Zero, but how about the drink?

I also thought the brand-extension idea was getting a bit out of control. But I saw this in the store last night and got some. Now- I LOVE Coca-Cola Classic. I've been trying to force myself to switch to Diet sodas for over a year now, and I just don't like Diet Coke like everyone said I would. I had high hopes for Splenda Coke, but it's not much better. It really seems like with all the technology they have today, they should be able to make a 0-cal drink that tastes like Coke. Well, this is pretty close. It actually tastes good. I hope this one's here to stay.

Scott Miller

Back for more...

I just checked out their web site, and they have an appealing message, despite the horribly line-extended name. If I were CEO of Coke, I'd have simply named this new drink Zero. That's it. No line extension, yet the point is still made that it has no calories. Also, this name allows the product to have its own identity, and it doesn't further dilute Coke's identity.

The one part of their message I'd have dropped is when they say "Scientifically made to be chilled." No one wants to hear that their drink has been scientifically made with men in white coats and boiling beakers. Boy, does that speak refreshment to me.

Scott Miller

For the last year I've been telling people that Coke has become the new Shasta. Coke no longer represents a particular flavor, it has become a mega-brand that represents a line of flavors. And this is NOT a good thing.

Coke is destroying the purity of their brand. They are no longer the real thing -- they want to be everything.

An example I often use is this: Back when Coke came up with the Sprite brand in 1961, what if they had today's marketing numbskull's involved...they would have instead called it Lemon Lime Coke Clear.

Sigh.

Marianne Richmond

I saw it at the grocery store this afternoon and said to myself, "Zero...huh?" Went home and mentioned it to my 12 year old son and he said "Huh? Isn't that the same as Diet Coke?"
And, forget the hilltop singers...bring back Mean Joe Green.

shannon

If it tastes like real coke, people who wouldn't otherwise buy diet,like me, will buy it.

Anish Bafna

Both you and Al have been the strongest proponents of narrowing the focus.
Your rant on coke zero and C2 holds true for all businesses where brand extension is looked upon with excitement ..To me most brand extensions are either desperate attempts to rejuvenate or move away from existing brands...

Having said that it is important to get an understanding as to why a product like coke zero would be envisaged at all..Is it more of a prop for an existing brand....so when it falls let it fall on the brand extension..

Similarly on the subject of narrowing focus..would Nike be what it is today had it stuck to its narrowed focus of shoes for athletes only...It moved to the fitness segment..and that is what helped it to grow beyond the sub billion dollar brand it is today.....not exactly a case of moving into a completely different catergory but yeah they had to move on and engage a larger audience...

Same on Kodak..yes their forte is print photography and not digital but when the entire industry is going digital..what were their options..??

ryan

if any of you actually taste coke zero, you'll realize that it is a diet cola that doesn't taste like a diet. it's awesome

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