The Coca-Cola Company has unveiled a brand rejuvenation for Diet Coke, featuring updated packaging and the introduction of four new flavours.
The beverage giant said its aim is to satisfy adventurous fans’ thirst for bolder tastes and more dynamic and uplifting experiences with the new variants: ginger lime, feisty cherry, zesty blood orange, and twisted mango.
Original Diet Coke and the new flavours will be packaged in sleek 12oz cans and sold as on-the-go singles and in eight-packs. The beverage will continue to be offered in all existing package sizes, such as standard 12oz cans, mini cans and glass bottles.
Coca-Cola spoke to more than 10,000 people across the US to get their ideas and inputs on potential flavour extensions, packaging updates and more.
From these insights, the company’s research and development team developed and tested more than 30 Diet Coke flavour combinations, featuring tropical, citrus and even botanical notes. Ultimately, the company landed on four flavours that received the most positive consumer responses.
Coca-Cola North America’s group director for Diet Coke, Rafael Acevedo, said: “Diet Coke is one of the most iconic brands loved by millions of fans in North America.
“Throughout this relaunch journey, we wanted to be bold, think differently and be innovative in our approach. And most importantly, we wanted to stay true to the essence of Diet Coke while recasting the brand for a new generation.”
He added: “We know Diet Coke has all kinds of fans – from people who have loved its great taste since it launched in 1982 to millennial men and women who are always looking to try new things. We’re modernising what has made Diet Coke so special for a new generation.
“The same unapologetic confidence still comes through and the same great Diet Coke taste people love is here to stay, but we’re making the brand more relatable and more authentic.”
Analysis: ‘A category falling flat’
If you saw there was news from Coca-Cola today about Diet Coke, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was being discontinued – and you probably wouldn’t be alone. It’s quite telling that, front and centre of communications for the relaunch, Coca-Cola is reassuring consumers that “Diet Coke continues to be available” and “Diet Coke is here to stay”.
In the last year or two, the forgotten child of Coke’s portfolio has been upstaged by Coke Zero Sugar: the company has rebranded and reformulated so that it tastes closer to the classic Coke, and in the long-term you have to question whether there’s space for two calorie-free, sugar-free options in its portfolio.
What’s really exciting is the new range of Diet Coke varieties, including blood orange and twisted mango, which offer something different to usual cola flavours.
Coca-Cola is referring to Diet Coke as “America’s number one-selling zero-calorie beverage”, but in a category that’s falling flat that doesn’t say much. Rival PepsiCo is wrestling with an arrest in sales of its diet colas, and last quarter Coke itself reported a “mid single-digit decline” in North America for the Diet Coke brand. In contrast, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar “continued to perform well”.
Clearly it needs an injection of fresh impetus – but if this rebranding strategy doesn’t come off for Diet Coke, then you have to seriously question what’s next for the brand.
The new design aims to give Diet Coke a more contemporary feel. A refreshed visual identity, meanwhile, aims to live up to Diet Coke’s new flavours and packaging.
Anchored by the brand’s iconic silver color, the new look and feel has a simplified colour palette focused on silver and red with accents of bold colour to represent the new flavours. A slightly refined typography aims to simultaneously preserve Diet Coke’s heritage, yet present it in a more progressive manner.
Coca-Cola Global Design vice president said: “For a design team, the opportunity to rethink such an iconic brand with the scale and reach of Diet Coke – to build on its heritage and create a visual language that will help write its next chapter – is a rare brief.
“This visual evolution elevates the brand to a more contemporary space, while still using at its foundation the recognisable core brand visual assets.”
Diet Coke, known as Coca-Cola Light in most international markets, is available in more than 110 countries around the world. The brand’s new design and flavours will be available first in the US, followed by Canada in February.