[credit provider=”By Brent on Flickr” url=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/brent_nashville/6424278149/sizes/l/in/photostream/”]
Coca-Cola tried to revive its polar bear mascot with a wintry white can design for Coca-Cola Classic, but just one month after launch, it’s abandoning the project and reverting to red, reports Mike Esterl at the Wall Street Journal.Why? Three reasons:
1. Some consumers are confusing the packaging with Diet Coke’s similar silver cans.
2. Others swear that the drink tastes different when in a white can.
3. Coke’s most ardent fans find the change in colour blasphemous.
Coke frequently features special edition holiday cans, but this was the first time it had ever strayed from its usual red for Coca-Cola Classic. It probably won’t ever try it again.
This change wasn’t anything near the New Coke debacle back in 1985, yet it evoked the same sort of strong feelings among the brand’s fans. They don’t approve of change, and to appease them, Coke must taste and look like Coke always has.
And it goes to show that packaging — especially for such a massively powerful brand like Coke with such fanatical followers — matters deeply.
NOTE: Coke has reiterated that it is not abandoning its entire campaign — it is halting production of the white cans (they’ll still be on shelves until they run out), and distributing the new red cans. Also, Coke is continuing to encourage donations to its campaign to protect polar bears.