Coca-Cola Rebrand Shows Room For Improvement

Coca-Cola rebranded can design for UK market

Stop the press! Coca-Cola, arguably the most iconic brand in the world is rebranding. Last week Coke announced a new unified can design for Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero and Coca-Cola Life in a bid to help us better understand the difference between the four products and revive dwindling sales of course. Risky? We invite the UK consumer to feedback.

I completely admit that before writing this blog I had no idea what Coca-Cola Life was. To me, Diet Coke was a staple, interchangeable with Coca-Cola Zero, red Coke a treat and Life, erm, green? Any clarification would be much appreciated, as long as it doesn’t mess around with my Santa-Claus-loving, polar-bear-drinking Coca-Cola brand too much which happily, it doesn't.

I have no strong feelings about the rebrand either way really, I think it's quite tame. I now know what Coca-Cola Life is and that's about it, so I put it to the Product Lab Research Panel for more detailed opinion. Here goes!

A good start for the soda legend with 35% of our research panel saying that they prefer the new Coca-Cola can designs and 41% saying that they like both old and new designs equally. ‘Great new sleek and uncluttered design. Instantly recognizable as the iconic brand, and easy to define which type is which as the colours have stayed the same.’

No apparent brand damage done then. A relatively positive reaction and like me, the UK consumer will continue to down the sweet brown bubbles in some way, shape or form. But has the rebrand fulfilled it primary explanatory purpose?

Before they saw the new branding a whopping 50% of panellists didn’t understand the difference between either some or all of the four Coca-Cola products, so I was not alone there. As 31% of Product Lab consumers think that the new packaging designs provide improved product explanations hopefully we have a little more clarity now. Not exactly a clean sweep though is it. I decided to delve deeper.

The sticking point, undoubtedly my interchangeable friends, Diet Coke and Coca-Cola Zero, ‘I am still unsure of the difference between 'diet' and 'zero' - maybe more info on the can would help’. This theme was huge in our research panel discussions. ‘What’s the difference between zero calories and no calories and if they are the same why is there a need for both?’ An excellent question! Would you care to respond Coke? I’m afraid I still don’t have a clue about this one either.

A fairly promising result for the Coca-Cola rebrand but room for improvement. We still don’t know the difference between Coca-Cola Zero and Diet Coke, and whilst consumer feedback on the new look is encouraging, it’s far from a landslide victory. Perhaps Coke's wider supporting communication strategy will be the kicker in resounding rebrand success or a media fizz gone flat? Watch this space.

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The Guardian: Coca-Cola's marketing shake-up requires a lot of bottle

Brand Channel: Coca-Cola Adopts One-Brand Strategy in Europe and the US to Clear Up Confusion

The Grocer: Coca-Cola's rebrand - The experts have their say

Marketing Week: Coke’s ‘one brand’ strategy highlights one of the great marketing themes of our lifetime

Coca-Cola Great Britain: Coca-Cola Great Britian To Introduce New "One Brand" Strategy To Promote Portfolio Choice And Drive Growth

Metro: Coca-Cola is trialling new 'unified' packaging and it's TOTALLY different

Fast Company: Coke experiments with new universal branding

GOOD Magazine: This Week in Deisgn

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About the Author

  • Stephanie Kent

    Stephanie Kent - Lab Reporter

    Our dedicated Lab Panel blogger, Steph is the voice of the consumer. From mortgages to special fried rice, if you want to know what the UK thinks, she's your girl. With a formidable background in both business and retail journalism Steph invites the Lab Panel to speak out about the latest consumer trends to hit the headlines. She reports the facts back to you, bringing the panellists to life with her own unique, quirky tone. We can't wait to read her blogs… and we know how they end.


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