When I first saw the new holiday white Coke cans, I thought that they were pretty sharp looking! I understood the reasoning behind it. Coke and the polar bears have been an item well before I ever got hooked on their liquid crack cocaine. The idea to promote conservation awareness for the polar bear seemed like a good one to me, although not good enough for me to make a donation. But the cans themselves looked appealing.
A day or two later I saw the first report of a supposed consumer backlash against the company that had dared to package their flagship product in anything other than a red can for the first time in its history. What’s the big deal, I thought? Seemed like it was really blown out of proportion to me.
Then I saw the problem first hand when I was in the store. It’s not that the cans aren’t red. It’s that they’re white. Someone who likes regular Coke may not be able to easily locate them, but will eventually stumble onto them, or ask. But the white cans look very similar in appearance to the silver Diet Coke cans, meaning those who drink Diet can easily pick up the wrong one if they’re not careful. Now I know what you’re probably thinking “C’mon… can’t people read the labels?” Sure.. the Diet ones are clearly marked as such… but a company like Coke spends millions of dollars every year to reinforce its brand image with consumers… people instinctively reach for their preferred flavour based on these visual cues… and someone at Coca-Cola should have realized that there was the potential for confusion here.
Now, to the people who claimed that the taste of Coke in the white cans was somehow different than Coke in the red cans… they’re idiots. We won’t worry too much about those people. But for everyone else who thought they were buying Diet Coke, only to discover when they got home that it was regular Coke… those people have a legitimate gripe. Coca-Cola has responded by scrapping the campaign.
Which is too bad… cuz I liked them!