Diet Coke rebrands with ‘real (new) thing’ to attract millenials

Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta (DAVID BARNES / AJC File Photo)

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Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta (DAVID BARNES / AJC File Photo)

Coca-Cola has introduced new packaging and four new fruit-flavored drinks to its Diet-Coke brand, to attract a new generation of drinkers.

In a statement, the company said the re-brand will target consumers interested in trying new things, besides retaining the loyal diet coke consumer.

“We’re contemporizing the Diet Coke brand and portfolio with sleek packaging and new flavors that are appealing to new audiences,” said Rafael Acevedo, Coca-Cola’s North America’s group director for Diet Coke.

VIDEO: Previous Coke news

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Coca-Cola announced it was doing away with Coke Zero. In its place, it will sell Coke Zero Sugar. CZS has the same ingredients as Coke Zero. A Coca-Cola representative said the new drink has different ingredient ratios. CZS also has 30 g less sodium than CZ. According to Coca-Cola, the new blend was designed to taste more like real Coke.

Coca-Cola said the new flavors, Ginger Lime, Feisty Cherry, Zesty Blood Orange and Twisted Mango, will add variety to the Diet Coke brand which has been in existence since 1982.

Acevedo however said changes to the design and flavors will stay true to what Diet coke has stood for since its inception.

The introduction of new flavors to the market, an effort by the company to attract new consumers, follows consumer reports pointing to a decline in volume sales of diet drinks. Recent market trends point to consumers opting for bottled water, unsweetened beverages and sparkling water considered healthier options instead of artificially flavored drinks, says Duane Stanford, the Executive Director for Beverage Digest.

A 2016 report by Beverage Digest, a publication covering non-alcoholic beverages in the US, showed a 0.8% decline in the overall volume sales for carbonated soft drinks, with Diet Coke sales falling by 4.3%. As the sales for carbonated drinks fell, bottled water sales surged. Stanford attributes the decline to the rise in the market of an array of drinks, diversifying choices for the non-alcoholic beverage consumer.

According to the report, the value for soft drink companies has been on the rise despite the drop-in sales for diet sodas as the companies have tailored their products to meet consumer needs for attractively packaged smaller, healthier portions.

“Consumers may not necessarily want 12 ounces in a sitting, they may want 7 and a half ounces instead. It’s up to the companies to offer those options,” Stanford says adding that the better the companies do that, the more profitable they will become.

The re-launch follows a two-year innovation process that included a survey of 1,000 people countrywide who suggested smaller- bolder flavors of the product. They also recommended sleeker packaging of the product.

The new flavors will be packaged in 12-oz. cans and will be sold in eight-packs or as singles.

“This visual evolution elevates the brand to a more contemporary space, while still using at its foundation the recognizable core brand visual assets,” said James Sommerville, vice president, Coca-Cola Global Design.

The new design will feature the brand’s iconic silver color accented with red and will include bold color palettes representing the new flavors.

According to Coca-Cola, the new products will be introduced to U.S. stores this month and will be in distribution in the international market in February. Canada will be the first location outside the U.S. to sell the relaunched products.

The new flavors and design follow the company's launch of the no-calorie, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar  last August.

Diet Coke is sold in 110 countries.