End of individual brands campaign strategy for Coca-Cola

This is the end of an era people ! Yes, Coca-Cola is changing its whole brand strategy and moves to a one-brand strategy (in GB), leaving behind its 4 strong brands : original, zero, diet (light) and life. Why ? How ? Let’s try to understand.

choose happiness

What is this « one brand strategy » ?

Coca-Cola used to advertise its products as proper brands. Each of them had their own campaign, own message, own personality and so on. But that was before. This strategy was based on personalisation : each person has its own needs and wishes so their is only one brand (product here) that can answer it. All brand practised this kind of advertising in the past few years. The market getting more and more competitive, brands have now to focus on what’s really important, what does really matter. That’s why, Coca-Cola, the huge international brand, has decided to corner.

Each product innovation will no longer be treated as a new brand with separate ideas, personality and branding. This will be a sort all-in-one marketing strategy with corporate campaign and clear messages. Changing all this, Coca-Cola wants to help its customer to choose and be more aware of the choices they can make (and obviously, more relevant : what Coca-Cola offers to them). They want to make it easier to them to get their bearings. They want people to better understand benefits of each drink.


This new strategy will rely on 3 main pillars :

  • the emotional qualities of the masterbrand at peak times in the year,
  • creative where the drinks are lined up next to each other
  • the differences highlighted as well as product-focused messages, taking advantage of taste of a each specific drink

Why does Coca-Cola change ?

Adaptation is always needed

All big brands who pass through the years have one secret (which is not really one) : adaptation. All brand managers would tell you so : if you don’t adapt yourself, your brand and your organisation to the world, you’re lost forever ! Indeed, the world’s changing so fast. It is impossible to reach your target, sell your products, remain leader, if you don’t watch the market and make changes when needed.

Coca-Cola has always succeeded in that part but with a global strategy. With minor changes regarding to the countries (slightly different taste, conditioning, distribution), the brand has been into a globalisation strategy. That is to say : the marketing mix (what we call the four P : place, price, product and promotion) where mainly the same all over the world. And it’s a miracle if it worked considering cultural differences we all know about. This leads me to this statement : nowadays, people don’t buy products, they buy the idea of it and brands have to concentrate efforts to make it count and  to be heard over the ambient cacophony.

live on the COKE side of life

Cutting costs and concentrating on products

Moreover, this is a cost effective strategy. Less campaigns, less ideas, less work hours, less agencies… You see my point. A corporate campaign is less expensive that 4 huge campaigns. Of course, this isn’t only about cutting costs (yes, we’re talking about Coca-Cola, a multinational firm who weight millions dollars – who confessed to raise its media budget over 100%). This is about re-concentrating on what makes the product and so, the essence of the brand personality.  However, the new strategy isn’t in line with today’s trends. Nowadays, brands use to communicate on their personality, what they stand for, what makes them special. This is why brand storytelling is at its height right now. Because we are invaded by so many offers, so many products that this is the only way to be seen and get to the heart of the brand’s fans. But Coca-Cola decides to communicate, yes about its brand and personality on the whole but not for each brand which have their own sector and brand universe.

For example, Zero is totally sugar free. Its universe is more sexual and passionate : James Bond advert, getting more with a zero…  Life is surfing on the green wave, organic and natural… Diet (Light) is more about well-being and body harmony. The red one, the original, is the full happiness. Still, Coca-Cola has decided to stop them grow on their own and make them stronger together. What they’re looking for (according to their CEO) is to gain more clarity on the taste of each product. Maybe by comparing them in the ads ? Coca-Cola is hoping to make Zero and the new Life brands grow.

Avoiding cannibalisation and clearing people’s mind

Another explanation of this strategic turnaround is to avoid cannibalisation between brands as Diet and Zero aren’t that far. Indeed, cannibalisation is a risk for firms with lots of brands, operating over the same sector. Here, we are on the soda market and more precisely on the cola market. 4 brands from the same firm are competing. The problem is that Coca-Cola can loose market share because of a misunderstanding over products positioning in consumer mind. In clear, cannibalisation appears when a product is stealing market share from another brand of the same company.

choose happiness2 coke coca cola new strategy one brands four bottles

Moreover, Coca-Cola noticed that a large part of the population doesn’t know that Zero is made without sugar and is calorie free. This is a huge problem when you know it’s the best advantage of the product. The brand forgot to advertise this particularity and focused on fun / sensual universe. This is time now to step back and rediscover the real benefit of the product to advertise the essential of it. By reuniting the four brands under Coca-Cola’s umbrella brand, they hope it will make clear to more consumers the full choice offered regarding to their low and no sugar variants.

What’s about to change for Coca-Cola ?

Concrete changes are about to arrive !

A new baseline for Coca-Cola

This is rare but this is happening. Coca-Cola changes its baseline to « choose happiness » instead of « open happiness ». I am not very convinced by this change. Not enough far away to the last one (for original coke) to take a risk and not really differentiating. We’ll see the efficiency of that new baseline. The former was clear enough to be used corporately so why changing ? Moreover, it was well installed in their customer minds… It’s a mystery (they say it’s too much related to the original red Coca-Cola). Anyway, this is related to the idea of choice that the CEO wants to input in the new strategy so this is consistent, in a way.

A new design

Yes, at Trend N’Com we love new packagings so we are pleased to see these new designs for the bottles. Even if the changes are hard to see (accent on colours and simpler design), there is a harmonisation of bottles’ look. We hope limited edition will come as they use to sell sometimes. We are so fond of it 😉

All Coca-Cola brands (except water range) will see their packaging adopting the colours : green for natural sugar, black for no sugar and silver for limited sugar. And the brand committed to reduce even more calories in its drinks (around 5% from now to 2025).

Note : Diet Coke keeps its new launched campaign #regretnothing which was launched some months from today.


But a sponsorship still

Coca-Cola assures that even if its communications and advertising is going to be more corporate, sponsorship will remain on specific drinks. Each event will keep its own drink as Rugby World Cup with Coca Cola Zero. At leasts, a huge place will be kept to Coca-Cola as big brand, even in these sponsorship actions.

Best street marketing of coca-cola

We know it, Coca-Cola is force of nature when talking to marketing actions. This is also what makes this brand so successful. I really hope the new « one brand » strategy will give us even more original actions like this. I chose 3 but you can see them all on my scoopit topic.

Sending snow from Sweden to Singapour

Coca-Cola created a strange machine. Installed in Sweden, it enabled children to send snow to Singaporean children. Everything to share Happiness 😉

Mini-bottle and mini-kiosk

Here is a creative way to advertise a new format. To communicate on its mini bottle (15cl) in Germany, the brand mini-kiosks with tiny vending machine.


Create a fridge without electricity

They created a machine in Colombia, the bio cooler, which, with a plant pot and solar energy, transforms gas in liquid and make temperature drop.



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