So, Coca-Cola, already uber-present in our lectures, made another move that will probably be analyzed soon in all branding-related courses throughout the Netherlands: the company is introducing a new unifying packaging for Coke and its sub-brands Coke Diet, Coke Zero, and Coca-Cola Life. Their re-packaging is a substantial step within the company’s One Brand strategy, which was introduced earlier this year.

The new design is based on the Red Disc that Coca-Cola also uses in its “Taste the Feeling” campaign.

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“Packaging is our most visible and valuable asset. The Coca-Cola Red Disc has become a signature element of the brand, synonymous with great taste, uplift and refreshment,” said Coca-Cola’s CMO Marcos de Quinto in a recent AdAge-interview. Now, the sub-brands will no longer be perceived as stand-alone products, but merely as variants of the same soft drink.

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Quick-check

What should we think about this move from a marketing point of view?

Pro: such a unified appearance and communications are way easier to handle than coordinating a whole set of distinct sub-brands. The company might benefit from scaling effects and lower the costs while also increasing sales. That’s at least what Coca-Coal is hoping for.
Con: it might also be the case that the sometimes quite negative and unhealthy image of the original Coke will be transferred to the other variants. The reputation of Coke Diet, Coke Zero, and Coca-Cola Life could be seriously damaged.

I’m in fact not sure if this whole One Brand thing is such a good idea… In my opinion, it would have been better to differentiate even further and protect the “wannabe”-healthy Coke Zero and Life from the original Coke’s bad boy image. Especially nowadays, where superfoods and organic drinks are a trending topic, should Coca-Cola think twice before forfeiting the chance to leverage this upcoming market. But what do I know, right? I assume that their brand manager earns a lot more money than I do and probably evaluated all options carefully.

What’s your take on this? Anything to add to the pros and cons list?

Written by Felix Kausmann