Ch. 8 Case: Coke Zero Do Real Men Drink Diet Coke?

Ch. 8 Case: Coke Zero Do Real Men Drin” rel=”nofollow”>ink Diet Coke?
When a couple of marketin” rel=”nofollow”>ing managers for Coca-Cola told attorney Elizabeth Fin” rel=”nofollow”>inn Johnson that they wanted to sue
their Coke Zero colleagues for ?taste in” rel=”nofollow”>infrin” rel=”nofollow”>ingement,? she was baffled. She tried to talk them out of it, but they were
determin” rel=”nofollow”>ined. They argued that Coca-Cola Classic should be protected from the age discrimin” rel=”nofollow”>ination it would suffer with the in” rel=”nofollow”>introduction of a newer, younger soft drin” rel=”nofollow”>ink that tasted exactly the same as the origin” rel=”nofollow”>inal. Frustrated, Fin” rel=”nofollow”>inn Johnson held up the Coke can and shouted, ?It?s not a person! Title VII doesn?t cover these thin” rel=”nofollow”>ings!?

What she didn?t know was that the marketin” rel=”nofollow”>ing managers were actors. Hidden cameras had been planted
around the meetin” rel=”nofollow”>ing room to capture the reactions of several unsuspectin” rel=”nofollow”>ing attorneys who had been asked to consider the case, in” rel=”nofollow”>includin” rel=”nofollow”>ing an immigration lawyer who was asked if he could get the Coke Zero marketin” rel=”nofollow”>ing head
deported back to Canada. The short videos were strategically placed on Web sites such as
to promote Coke Zero as the hip, new alternative to Diet Coke for men.

The Coca-Cola Company knows it has to be creative if it?s goin” rel=”nofollow”>ing to sell more soda after sales dropped
two years in” rel=”nofollow”>in a row in” rel=”nofollow”>in 2005 and 2006. Morgan Stanley analyst Bill Pecoriello explain” rel=”nofollow”>ins, ?Consumers are becomin” rel=”nofollow”>ing
ever more health-conscious, and the image of regular carbonated soft drin” rel=”nofollow”>inks is deterioratin” rel=”nofollow”>ing rapidly.?

In an attempt to appeal to consumers concerned with nutrition, Coke in” rel=”nofollow”>introduced Diet Coke Plus in” rel=”nofollow”>in 2007, a
sweeter version of Diet Coke fortified with vitamin” rel=”nofollow”>ins and min” rel=”nofollow”>inerals. But what they really needed was a way
to reach young male consumers, and Diet Coke Plus, marketed with the taglin” rel=”nofollow”>ine ?Your Best Friend Just Got
Friendlier!? wasn?t goin” rel=”nofollow”>ing to do it.

A few new products appealed to certain” rel=”nofollow”>in male demographics, such as Coca-Cola Blak, a cola with coffee essence created for older, more sophisticated consumers who are willin” rel=”nofollow”>ing to pay more, and Full Throttle Blue
Demon, an energy drin” rel=”nofollow”>ink with an agave azule flavor (thin” rel=”nofollow”>ink margaritas) designed to appeal to Hispanic men.
However, research showed that there was still a big demographic hole to fill as young men between the ages of
18 and 34 were abandonin” rel=”nofollow”>ing the Coca-Cola brand altogether. They didn?t want all the calories of regular Coke,
but neither were they willin” rel=”nofollow”>ing to make the move to Diet Coke, which has traditionally been marketed to women
who want to lose weight.

Katie Bayne, chief marketin” rel=”nofollow”>ing officer for Coca-Cola North America, says that the men who weren?t put off
by the ?femin” rel=”nofollow”>inin” rel=”nofollow”>ine stigma? of Diet Coke often rejected it anyway because of its aspartame-sweetened aftertaste.
?What we were seein” rel=”nofollow”>ing before Zero launched was that more and more younger people were in” rel=”nofollow”>interested in” rel=”nofollow”>in nocalorie
beverages but weren?t goin” rel=”nofollow”>ing to sacrifice taste,? Bayne said. ?So when they got in” rel=”nofollow”>interested in” rel=”nofollow”>in no-calorie, they were like, ?Forget it, I?m not goin” rel=”nofollow”>ing to Diet Coke.?? Testin” rel=”nofollow”>ing showed that the name ?Coke Zero? would be
an effective way to sell a low-calorie cola to men without usin” rel=”nofollow”>ing the word ?diet.? And advances in” rel=”nofollow”>in artificial
sweeteners made it possible for Coke to fin” rel=”nofollow”>inally create a product that tasted more like the real thin” rel=”nofollow”>ing. So expectations were high when Coke Zero was in” rel=”nofollow”>introduced in” rel=”nofollow”>in 2005 with a big marketin” rel=”nofollow”>ing push, in” rel=”nofollow”>includin” rel=”nofollow”>ing a commercial
that remade the famous 1971 ?Hilltop/I?d Like to Teach the World to Sin” rel=”nofollow”>ing? ad?this time with rapper G. Love
on a rooftop sin” rel=”nofollow”>ingin” rel=”nofollow”>ing that he?d like to teach the world to ?chill.? Unfortunately, the commercial didn?t catch on,
and neither did the product it was sellin” rel=”nofollow”>ing.

Despite disappoin” rel=”nofollow”>intin” rel=”nofollow”>ing sales in” rel=”nofollow”>in the United States, however, Coke Zero was an immediate hit in” rel=”nofollow”>in Australia, sellin” rel=”nofollow”>ing
more than three times the number of cases expected durin” rel=”nofollow”>ing its first year on the market. In the United States,
the packagin” rel=”nofollow”>ing was white and silver, makin” rel=”nofollow”>ing it difficult for consumers to see the difference between Coke Zero and Diet Coke. In Australia, the bottles and cans were black, makin” rel=”nofollow”>ing the product stand out on the shelves and look
more like the ?bloke?s Coke? it was in” rel=”nofollow”>intended to be.

The U.S. marketin” rel=”nofollow”>ing team took notice and rein” rel=”nofollow”>introduced Coke Zero with a black and silver label in” rel=”nofollow”>in 2007.
Coca-Cola is now in” rel=”nofollow”>investin” rel=”nofollow”>ing more money in” rel=”nofollow”>in Coke Zero than any other brand its size, hopin” rel=”nofollow”>ing it will someday
be a megabrand for the company alongside Coca-Cola Classic and Diet Coke. Chief marketin” rel=”nofollow”>ing officer Bayne
is enthusiastic about the impact it may have on the company. ?We do see this as potentially a bit of a white
knight. There?s huge opportunity to grow here.?

1. Describe the specific type of consumer segment that the Coca-Cola Company is targetin” rel=”nofollow”>ing with each of the
followin” rel=”nofollow”>ing products: Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Diet Coke Plus, Coca-Cola Blak, and Full Throttle
Blue Demon.

2. Some in” rel=”nofollow”>industry analysts thin” rel=”nofollow”>ink soft drin” rel=”nofollow”>ink companies should develop products that will brin” rel=”nofollow”>ing new customers
in” rel=”nofollow”>into the market rather than just creatin” rel=”nofollow”>ing variants on the old. They warn that products such
as Coke Zero will ?cannibalize? lost market share from other soft drin” rel=”nofollow”>ink categories in” rel=”nofollow”>instead of in” rel=”nofollow”>increasin” rel=”nofollow”>ing
the number of consumers overall. Do you agree with this view? Which Coca- Cola products are most likely to lose customers to Coke Zero?

3. Why do you thin” rel=”nofollow”>ink that the hidden-camera videos used to promote Coke Zero were an effective way
to reach its target market?

4. Do you thin” rel=”nofollow”>ink Diet Coke could have been repositioned by Coca-Cola to change consumers? perceptions of it enough to become a drin” rel=”nofollow”>ink equally appealin” rel=”nofollow”>ing to men? Why or why not?

Sources: Jerry Adler, ?Attack of the Diet Cokes,? Newsweek, May 14, 2007;
?Coke?s New ?Coke Zero? Faces Tough Goin” rel=”nofollow”>ing?, UPI NewsTrack, June 13, 2005;
Duane D. Stanford, ?0: That?s Zero. As in” rel=”nofollow”>in No Calories,? The Atlanta Journal-
Constitution, March 20, 2007; ?Coca-Cola Co.,? MMR, October 30, 2006; www
. Read the COKE ZERO CASE that follows this Assignment list, (scroll to the very end for the Case.) Answer the questions and send them to me in” rel=”nofollow”>in an email.

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