In 2018, Diet Coke debuted a new look, new packaging, four new flavors and new marketing with the goal of re-energizing and contemporizing the brand for both new drinkers and loyal fans.
This year, the zero-calorie sparkling beverage is picking up where it left off with the introduction of two more flavors—Blueberry Acai and Strawberry Guava—and releasing new content as part of the “Because I Can” campaign.
The restage helped spark a 2018 turnaround for the brand, says Diet Coke, which posted retail dollar sales growth in Nielsen measured channels for four consecutive quarters after at least five years of decline.
“We focused on modernizing Diet Coke to appeal to a new consumer base while at the same time connecting with our core drinkers by preserving the essence of what makes this brand so special,” said Rafael Acevedo, group director, Diet Coke. “We took smart risks in our approach to this holistic brand restage, and everything worked together to generate excitement and draw new fans to the brand.”
Diet Coke Blueberry Acai and Diet Coke Strawberry Guava were selected from a shortlist of 20 options and tested with more than 2,000 Americans. The new flavors will add more variety to the existing Diet Coke lineup, which also includes Ginger Lime, Feisty Cherry, Zesty Blood Orange and Twisted Mango.
“These new flavors are highly incremental to our current flavors and will continue to drive excitement for the brand,” Acevedo said. “Flavor variety is key because it provides more points of entry into the brand. Different consumers have different favorites, so it’s important to offer a range. And we’re finding that when new drinkers try a flavor, they’re also more likely to reach for (original) Diet Coke.”
Both new flavors, which hit stores nationwide in mid-January, are available in 12-oz. cans and sold as on-the-go singles and in eight packs. A nationwide sampling activation will give people the chance to experience the new flavors through August. The six-month tour will hit 15 cities and more than 100 college campuses.
Diet Coke also will launch new marketing in the coming weeks across all channels—from TV, to social, to experiential—and will extend the “Because I Can” invitation for fans to “live life confidently and on their own terms.”
“Last year’s campaign introduced Diet Coke’s new personality and philosophy,” said Tara Mathew Sahu, integrated marketing communications director, Diet Coke. “As we enter year two, we aim to show how the brand delivers a refreshing boost to everyday moments.
“Many of our newer fans were not even born when Diet Coke first launched in 1982, so they may see the brand as a choice of generations before them. We’re reframing the brand in a youthful, energetic and aspirational tone and showing how Diet Coke can fit into their lives.”
Acevedo said that while he’s encouraged by the brand’s rebound over the last year, the team has its eye on the long term.
“You don’t restage a brand the size of Diet Coke in one quarter or one year,” he added. “This is a multi-year plan, so it’s important to stay focused on our core strategy.”