Friday, December 02, 2011

Coke screws up yet another marketing campaign

This is how I imagine the daily morning meeting goes down in Coke's marketing department:

EXEC 1: Hey everyone, our job is to promote an insanely popular product that everyone loves and millions are addicted to that has outsold every other competitor by about a gazillion per cent since it was invented in 1886. What shall we do today?

EXEC 2: Let's fuck with it.

I'm positive Coke's marketing department comes up with dumb ideas like New Coke and the Kerry Armstrong "myths" campaign purely to justify being paid to sell a product that essentially sells itself.

Which could be an explanation for the company's latest disaster - the polar white can.

In order to rescue the polar bears, or save the ice caps, or stop climate change or something, Coke recently decided to release its flagship product in a new range of silver and white cans. Silver and white? That sounds a lot like...

One of these cans is not like the others.

I bought a six pack of this new impostor Coke thinking it was the zero calorie diet version last week, and was so annoyed I made use of the company's email form on their website to complain about it.

This is me in my spare time.

A few days later I got this reply

We've heard there has been some confusion in that the Coca-Cola Arctic Home can resembles the Diet Coke holiday can. For consumers who are used to identifying Coke by our traditional red cans, we’ve highlighted some key visual elements on our Company website that clearly distinguish these new white Coke cans from our silver Diet Coke “Holiday” cans. You can find this information at

See? It's easy. Before you go to the supermarket make sure you visit the website of every product you plan to buy to make sure they haven't made any dickhead decisions regarding changing the packaging they've used for more than 100 years. Sound advice.

Meanwhile, I am not brain dead. I can see that one can has the word "DIET" scrawled across it in big letters. I do not need you to highlight the "key visual elements" to help me distinguish a can that says "diet" from a can that does not say "diet". The point is, when you're rushing through a supermarket buying things, your brain tends to enter hunter-gatherer mode and makes your hands grab things based mostly on colour, which is why having two cans that are both silver and white is a stupid idea.

And I think it's fairly obvious to anyone with half a brain that if you need to release a fact sheet to explain your product's new packaging to your loyal consumers, you've more than likely got an EPIC MARKETING FAIL on your hands.

Even more than this one.

Which is why this happened today.

It's also why I got a phone call from a poor overworked employee at Coke offering me vouchers for six packs of the Coke product of my choice. Thanks, Coke! When you're ready to balls up another promotion, let us all know!


  1. "Holiday can"?

    Is this America for "Christmas", or is it something else I don't understand?

  2. It's very common here, this "holiday" business. I can only assume the term is used to cover Christmas, Hannukah and Kwanza so no one is left out of the consumerist festival.

  3. Just picked a place to make my comment. Are you finished putting up new stuff? Are you just done blogging? Cool if you are, but SAY so. It's been months since you did a 90210 recap. Makes me feel like an idiot for checking every Wednesday.