Coke’s Big Design Faux Pas

Coca-Cola, the world’s leading beverage company (and the most iconic), pulls the new Coke cans intended to highlight its partnership with the World WildLife Fund, due to consumer confusion.

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So where did they go wrong?

First off, this is the first time Coke classic has changed the base color of its iconic red can that is known the world over.

Confusion came when consumers saw the white can and mistook it for Diet Coke with its silver base.  Though the can was not labeled as “Diet” consumers used to buying based on color, opted for the wrong version. Here is a picture I took at a local grocery store.  The difference at point of sale is almost imperceptible to busy consumers who are used to quickly reaching for their silver can.

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Secondly, a seasonal or trend driven reference that is not a constant part of the product line up, should never alter the design in its entirety.  In our opinion, the design was too literal, and a more minimal or abstract nod to the fund that still maintained the core brand attributes would have been better received by consumers, and also reduced confusion.  When it comes to brands as iconic as Coke, even the slightest change is palpable to consumers and liable to cause confusion.

Coke does not intend to pull the already shipped cans, so diabetics, beware!

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