Judging by the time I have spent on this earth, I can count three sodas that people depend on. What do I mean by “depend” on? I mean drinks that people rely on multiple times per day for their liquid intake. They grab it in the morning, at lunch, before they go to sleep, and every possible time in between. When it comes to these soda addicts, two of the soft drink choices I have regularly seen people obsessed with are Dr. Pepper and Mt. Dew.
But there is another soft drink that trumps both DP and Dew in terms of people using it as their water. Unequivocally, there is no drink more popular than Diet Coke. I have met people who are rarely seen without a Diet Coke in their hand. I know individuals who will pour three cans into an oversized mug container and drink a few of them throughout the day. I can name folks who have enough Diet Coke stockpiled at their residences to last them what seems like a decade or two. The obsession is real.
It is because of this mania that I just figured the Coca-Cola Company would never need to expand its Diet Coke brand. Why tinker with a product that basically has a cult following of millions?
Needless to say, I am not being paid the big bucks to serve as a soft drink executive. Apparently, Coca-Cola believed it needed to “liven” up Diet Coke and they definitely made good on their intentions. Last week, the company introduced a line of Diet Coke fruit-flavored sodas. In addition to the original, you can now choose between flavors such as ginger lime, feisty cherry, and zesty blood orange.
And the new flavors won’t be differentiated simply by packaging regular Diet Coke cans with the signature script in a different color. These new flavors will come in tall slim cans with splashes of color covering the can. As one person said, they will be very “Instagrammable.”
So yes, I made it clear above that I didn’t think Diet Coke would or need to alter/expand its brand. But now that it has, I kind of like what it did. I was very critical of Coca-Cola’s decision to “change” the name of Coca-Cola Zero but I think this Diet Coke rollout makes a little more sense.
The company is unapologetically honest when explaining why it is introducing new Diet Coke flavors and it can be summed up in one word: millennials.
I get it. Targeting millennials these days is a very profitable business strategy. When done right, it can pay off with a significant return on investment. I think Coke is introducing a product that will appeal to this audience. Although I read one article in the Washington Post where the author said Coca-Cola is trying too hard to entice this coveted group, as a millennial myself, I kind of like the new Diet Coke launch.
For one, I do like a little fruit with my soda. I am a fan of the Coca-Cola freestyle machines and will typically add a shot of cherry or grape to my soft drink. I also think the fresh look is sleek and appealing. It just looks modern to me. In my mind, it reminds me exactly of the Red Bull expansion. Just like Diet Coke, Red Bull has a very distinctive brand and taste. The energy drink went out on a big limb when it offered fruit flavor twists on its signature taste. However, it yielded success. I think Diet Coke will experience similar results.
I have never figured out why Diet Coke tastes good to so many people so I won’t go out to the store to buy the new fruit flavors. However, I think this move has the chance to succeed. If you are one of my Diet Coke-loving readers, please let me know your thoughts. Don’t Blink.