Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Can you still buy New Coke?

New Coke lasted only 79 days and went down in history as one of America's greatest marketing failures. You can learn more than you care to about this fiasco by reading the "The Real Story of New Coke" on the company's official site.

Coke (or as we now it, "Coca-Cola Classic") was losing market share in the 1980s. "The Pepsi Generation" marketing campaign was a huge success. To make matters worse, Coke was outspending Pepsi by $100 million in advertising. And in blind taste tests, Pepsi was pulverizing Coke. In short, times were tough.

Coke came out with a new formula that was sweeter, flavored more like Pepsi, and even beat Pepsi in taste tests. But die-hard Coke drinkers were irate. It was down right un-American to change Coke. Tampering with Coke was like destroying the flag.

Still, New Coke tasted good, so why not give the consumer a choice -- New Coke or Classic Coke? That way everyone's happy, right? Er, not quite.

The bottlers put the kibosh on that idea. Offering both products would add to their equipment costs. Additionally, New Coke would take some sales from Classic, which could make Pepsi the number one cola. So, adios to the "new taste of Coke."

New Coke became known as Coke II in 1990. According to Snopes.com, it holds 0.1% of market share. It's no longer available in the U.S., but desperate folks can find it online. Unfortunately, we can't vouch for its freshness.


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