What should Coca-Cola do?

The Ad Contrarian does not like the new Coke ads. He agrees with the strategy “one brand, less philosophy”. He’s a smart man.

I agree with that strategy too.

But the Ad Contrarian is also a very smart man because he said this: “Coke is probably the world’s most popular brand. But all the health/cultural trends are against them”, which is really the crux of the problem right now.

Every single report that comes out basically blows up another little piece of Coke’s CSD (carbonated soft drink) supremacy. The science, people’s expectations, people’s tastes, they all are moving away from Coke. The internet is also not helping because while in the past Coke was pretty good at keeping things under wrap, today stuff is leaked, YouTube animations of dead polar bears are made and people are exposed to equal parts sugar and disaster. Try walking into a supermarket also. Coke is slowly moving to the death shelf, that one just one up from the bottom where the eye never goes.

The Coke parent company is trying. Their portfolio of SKUs has tripled and they are adding non-CSD brands. Water, juice water, etc. But what of Coca-Cola? What should they do for Coca-Cola, a brand whose legacy runs parallel to the history of world brands?

The Ad Contrarian does not like the new ads. Neither do I. I also think no amount of smart ads will save Coke. This is not longer a matter of advertising. Droga 5 and W+K would not save Coke. This has become a matter of business model. The conversation needs to be about when can people still drink Coke and not feel they are basically doing something bad for themselves. Does Coke stay a cocktail accessory? Do you drink it as a Red Bull, in small shots to give you that kick? Do you drink it from a can or from a bottle?

Because one thing is clear. All the signs point to a time in the not so distant future where nobody will be drinking Coke because they are thirsty.

Digital Strategist. The Internet will save the world (pending verification). Views expressed here are my own/should not be construed as coming from my employer.

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