Basically everyone has had a Coca Cola beverage in their life. Whether it's a classic Coca-Cola, Diet Coke or Sprite, the company makes a bunch of different flavors that we all remember drinking since we were kids.
The thing is, there has always been this weird period of time that we hear about when Coca-Cola messed up royally. Some of us even remember it first-hand, but do you actually know the truth behind Coca-Cola's attempted 'New Coke' fiasco?
How it started
Coca-Cola had been the leading soda company in the country for decades, but by the early 80s, they were losing steam. Pepsi was catching up and they thought they needed to do something. Pepsi was quickly becoming more popular in super markets, and Coca-Cola was only holding on because they had most restaurants and vending machines on contract.
The company was desperate to do something to get new customers. Taste tests were showing the company that they liked the taste of Pepsi better, so they knew they needed to reformulate.
How they changed the flavor
Coca-Cola's newer product Diet Coke was doing really well in the markets. They wanted to try to recreate this with their new formula for their beverage, so they essentially took the formula for Diet Coke and removed the artificial sweeteners. They would then add back in the high fructose corn syrup.
They apparently took some time to get the balance just right and ended up with something that tasted a lot more like Pepsi.
Here's the real trick: People actually loved New Coke. Even though we all hear about the fact that New Coke was a huge blunder and marketing fail by the company, taste tests proved customers liked it.
People who did the taste tests preferred New Coke over the original Coke AND Pepsi, by a significant factor even!
Now that they knew people liked the product, they were ready to bring it public. That's where it all went wrong...
Coca-Cola then had to decide what they were going to do with their flagship product. Do they continue making it, or do they just focus on what they thought the customers would like?
They ended up deciding to discontinue Coca-Cola in hopes that all their loyal customers would transfer over to New Coke and they could then take back the market from Pepsi.
What went wrong?
The one thing that the company didn't anticipate was that there would be a mass outrage at the mere thought of the product leaving the shelves. Americans hated New Coke long before they even tasted it. They were livid that Coca-Cola was taking away the iconic beverage and weren't going to accept anything else.
They released New Coke on April 23rd, 1985, and stopped producing Coca-Cola that same week. It took less than four months for the American people to shut this down.
On July 11th, 1985 the executives announced that the original Coca-Cola would be coming back. Roberto Goizuete, Chairman of Coca-Cola said "we have heard you" and they began to make Coca-Cola again.
What happened after it came back?
They were worried that having both New Coke and Coca-Cola on the market would split the focus, and while they were right, they hadn't expected their original product to get such a ride. Nearly losing the product seemed to make people fall back in love with the soda, and by 1986 it had once again become the most popular soda on the market.
Was it all a plan?
Some people believe that Coca-Cola did this so that they could create a lot of free publicity, that they risked it all just so they could come back stronger than ever. The company's president, Donald Keough, said that, “Some critics will say Coca-Cola made a marketing mistake. Some cynics will say that we planned the whole thing. The truth is we are not that dumb, and we are not that smart.”
So what ever the result is, at least we have the real Coca-Cola back!