case study marketing

C
A
SE
A
S
SI
G
N
M
E
N
T: COKE ZERO

.
l
fen 
D
r
i
n
k Diet 
Coke?


cou
p
l
e of 
ma
r
k
et
in
g mana
g
e
r

for Coca-Cola told attorney Elizabeth Finn Johnson that they wanted to sue their
Z
ero 
c
oll
e
a
g
ues 
for 
“ta
ste 
i
n
fr
i
nge
m
ent
,
” 
she was baffled

She tried to talk them out of it

but they were determined.
T
h
ey a
rg
u
ed tha

Co
ca-Cola Cl
as
s
i

shoul
d be protected from the age discrimination it 
w
ould suffer 
w
ith the introduction
of 
a n
e
w
e
r
, y
oun
g
e

so
ft 
drink th
at tas
t
ed 
e
x
actl

the same as the original

Frustrated

Finn Johnson held up the Coke can
s
h
o
u
ted


It’

no

a perso
n! T
it
le V
II 
do
e
s
n’
t cover these things!

Wh
at 
sh
e didn


k
no

wa

th
at the 
marketing managers were actors. Hidden cameras had been planted around
me
e
ti
ng roo

t
o capt
u
r
e the react
i
ons o
f several unsuspecting attorneys who had been asked to consider the case
,
inclu
d
i
n

an i
mm
ig
r
ati
on 
l
a
w
y
e

w
ho 
w
a

a
s
ke
d if he could get the Coke Zero marketing head deported back to Cana
d
a
.
T
h
e sh
ort vi
d
e
os 
we
r
e st
r
a
te
gi
c
a
ll

p
l
aced on w
ebsites like YouTube.com to promote Coke Zero as the hip

new
a
lt
ernativ

t
o D
i
et Co
ke f
o
r me
n
.

T
he C
oc
a

Co
la Compa
n

k
now

i
t has 
to be creative if it
‘ 
s going to 
s
ell more soda after sales dropped two years
i

a row i

2
00
5 a
n

2
0
06

M
org
a

S
t
a
n
l
e

a
n
al
y
st Bill Pecoriello explains, “Consumers are becoming ever more health

nsc
io
us

an

the 
imag
e o

re
g
ul
ar c
a
r
b
on
at
ed 
so
f
t drinks is deteriorating rapidl
y
.
” 
In an attempt to appeal to consumers
con
cer
ne

w
i
th 
n
ut
ri
t
i
o
n, 
C
o
k

i
n
tro
d
u
ced 
D
i
et 
C
oke Plus in 2007

a sweeter version of Diet Coke fortified with vitamins
an
d m
i
n
eral
s. 
Bu
t wh
a

t
he
y rea
lly 
needed 
w
as a w
a

to reach young male consumer
s, 
and Diet Coke Plus

marketed with


l
i
ne
s li
k


Y
our Bes
t F
r
i
e
nd J
u
s

Go

Fri
end
l
ier!” wasn’t going to do it
.

A f
e

n
ew 
produ
c
t

ap
p
e
a
l
e

t
o cert
ai
n male demographics, such as Coca

Cola Blak

a cola with coffee essence
cr
eat
ed f
or 
ol
der

mor
e s
op
hi
s
ti
c
at
e

c
on
s
u
m
e
r
s w
ho are willing to pay more

and Full Throttle Blue Demon

an energy
d
r
i
nk w
it
h a

aga
v
e azule 
f
lavor 
(
t
h
i
n

m
a
r
ga
r
i
ta
s

designed to appeal to Hispanic men

However

research showed that
i
e
r
e w
as 
s
t
i
ll 
a b
i
g de
m
og
r
a
ph
i

h
o
l

t

f
i
ll 
a

y
oung men between the ages of 18 and 34 were abandoning the Coca

Col
a b
r
a
n
d alt
og
et
her

T
he

d
i
d
n

t w
a
nt 
a
l

t
h
e ca
lo
r
ies o

regular Coke, but they weren

t w
i
lling to make the move to
D
i
et 
Cok
e

eith
er

w
h
ich 
has 
t
rad
iti
ona
lly 
been 
m
ark
e
ted to women who want to lose weight
.
Kat
ie 
Ba
y
n
e

c
h
i
e
f m
ar
k
e
tin

o
f
fi
cer f
or Co
ca-Cola North America

says that the men who weren

t put offby the
=
f
emi
n
i
n
e s
t
igm
a
” 
of D
i
et 
Co
k

of
ten 
re
j
e
ct
ed 
i

an
yw
a

because of its aspartame

sweetened aftertaste. 

What we were
see
i
ng 
bef
ore 
Zero launc
hed 
w
a

tha

m
or
e a
n
d m
o
r

y
o
unger people were interested in no

calorie beverages but weren’t
goi
n

t

s
acr
i
f
ice 
t
as
t
e
,” 
Ba
y
ne 
sa
i
d


S

wh
e
n th
ey g
ot 
i
nterested in no-calorie, they were like, ‘Forget it, I

m not going



D
i
e

Co
ke
.
Te
s
t
ing sho
w
ed tha
t the na
m


C
ok

Z
er
o
” 
w
o
uld be an effective way to sell a low

calorie cola to men without
. g 
t
h
e w
ord 

d
i
et
.
” A
nd ad
va
n
ce

i

a
r
t
i
f
ic
i
a

s
w
ee
teners made it possible for Coke to finally create a product that
t
a
s
t
ed 
m
or

l
i
k

t
he 

Real Th
i
n
g
.
” 
S
o e
xpec
t
at
i
ons w
e
re 
high when Coke Zero was i
n
troduced in 2005 with a big
mark
e
ti
ng 
push

i
ncluding a com
merci
al 
t
ha
t rem
ad
e t
h
e f
a
m
ous 1971 “Hilltop
l
I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing
” 
ad

thi
s t
i
m

w
ith 
rapper G

Love on a r
ooft
op sing
i
ng 
that h
e’d like to teach the world to 

chill.
” 
Unfortunately

the
comm
erci
al 
d
i
dn

t catch on

and n
eith
e
r d
id the p
r
od
u
ct 
i
t w
as selling.
Desp
i
te 
disappointing sal
e
s in 
the 
U_
S
.

how
e
v
e
r

C
o
k
e Zero was a
n i
mmediate hit in Australia

selling more
th
an th
ree ti
mes th
e number of cases e
x
p
ect
ed d
u
rin

i
ts 
f
i
r
s
t y
ear on the market

In the U.S
., 
the packagi
n
g was white
si
l
v
er

m
aki
ng it difficult for consume
rs 
to s
e

th

d
i
ffe
re
n
c

b
et
w
een Coke Zero and Diet Coke

In Australia, the
es an
d ca
ns w
ere black, making the pr
od
u
c

s
t
an
d o
u
t on 
t
he 
s
he
lv
e

and look more like the “bloke’s Coke” it was
i
nten
ded t
o b
e
.
Th

U
.
S

marketing team took notice 
and re
i
n
t
r
odu
c
ed 
Coke Ze
ro 
w
ith a black and silver label in 2007

Coca-
Co
l

i
s n
o

i
n
ve
sting more money in Coke Zer
o than a
ny 
o
t
h
e
r bra
n
d i
t

s
i
z
e

ho
ping i

will someday be a megabrand for
th
e c
o
mp
a
n

al
ongside Coca

Cola Classic and D
i
e

C
o
k
e

C
h
i
e

Ma
r
k
e
ti
ng 
O
f
f
i
c
e

Ba
y
ne 
i
s enthusiastic about the impact
– 
may h
av

o

t
he company. 

We do see this a

po
t
e
n
t
ial
l

a b
i
t ofa 
w
h
i
t
e knig
h
t

There’s huge opportunit

to gro
w
h
e
r
e.
I


CASE:COKE
1

Describe the specific type of consumer that the Coca-Cola Company is targeting with each of the
following products

Diet Coke; Coke Zero; Diet Coke Plus; Coca-Cola Black

Full Throttle Demon
.
~
2. Some Industry analysts think soft-drink companies should develop products that will bring new
customers into the market rather than just creating variants on the old. They warn that products
like Coke Aero will cannibalize lost market share from other soft-drink categories instead of
increasing the number of consumer overall: Which Coke products are most likely to lose
customers to Coke Zero?

3. Why do 
y
ou think that the hidden-camera videos used to promote Coke Zero were an effect
i
ve
way to reach its target market? Do you think a vial hidden-camera strategy on the Internet
would appeal to the target market of Diet Coke Plus?

4

Do you think Diet Coke could have been repositioned to change consumers
‘ 
perceptions of it
enough to be considered a drink equally appealing to men? Why or why no.

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