“Times change. We must Change with the times.” Or perish. That’s a lesson that the Coca Cola Company is acting on, after several years aggressive brand building by the upstart Flavoured Water sector. For the first time, Coke has made a major move in the competition’s direction, on packaging and image…
Nobody made too much of the moves by Perrier and Pelligrino a few years back to add flavoured versions of their iconic French and Italian (respectively) sparkling waters. It was seen as more of a novelty than a fad, much less a trend. But the idea caught on and new players in the Spring Water / Sparkling Water sector took the bait and started rolling out new flavours as fast as they could come up with them.
That was the point where traditional fizzy-drink makers like Coke and Pepsi started quietly buying up Flavoured Water brands. The Millennials, it was clear, were trending decisively to ‘Water’ over Soda. The joke was, most ‘Waters’ were just the same as Sodas, just less-heavily carbonated. Coke, Pepsi and Dr. Pepper still disregarded the Water guys as novelty salesmen, but noted the movement in their industry
Then, Soda sales started to slump as ‘Water’ sales continued to rise
Now, if you’re Coke or Pepsi, you don’t just trash your previous champion brands if they begin to lose support among consumers. You seek to make them more acceptable to the consumers who are leading the change in the market. That’s how we’ve come to a place where, this week, Coke launched a major rebranding of Diet Coke which looks amazingly like one of the more aggressive and successful upstart Water brands – La Croix.
As you can see by the photo, above, Coke has taken a lead on packaging from he opposition, switching to taller, thinner cans. I haven’t actually seen one, yet, but I will assume, for the record, that they contain the same 8 oz. / 355 ml that the old standard one did.
More to the point, Diet Coke now comes in four new fruit flavours which line up right across the shelf with La Croix’s citrus selections. How about a ‘Feisty Cherry,’ “Blood Orange’, ‘Ginger Lime’ or ‘Twisted Mango’ Diet Coke?
The bottom line:
Your choice of bubbly quaff is entirely up to you. The important news today is, for the first time, traditional fizzy drink purveyors Coke and Pepsi have signaled that they are seriously in fear of the Rise of the Water People… I never thought I’d see it in my lifetime. But, here we are!
~ Maggie J.