Coca Cola - the impending rebrand

You (possibly) heard it here first – a Coca Cola rebrand is on the horizon.

For a long time they haven’t really made any drastic changes to their branding – even during their ‘Share a Coke’ campaign all the colours and labels remained largely the same, they simply allowed room for a name to be added.

Of course they’ve launched new brands that required new branding – Coke Zero and Coke Life – and recently on the cans they rotated the logo and made it bigger, but again, the colours remained the same.

But over the next year or so, here is the new packaging they’re planning to launch:

As you can see, they’re still retaining their iconic brand colours of red and white – and to a degree they’re still employing silver, black and green for the non-classic coke flavours. They’re also changing the names a little bit – Coke Zero to Zero Sugar, and Diet Coke to Coke Light.

Our first impressions?

Firstly, I think it’s a mistake to down-play the individual colours of the flavours – at point of sale, on the shelves and in the vending machines, it’s difficult to differentiate between them. Being a massive Diet Coke addict myself, we can assure you that I would be devastated if I cracked open a Diet Coke only to find out I’d actually bought a full fat coke by accident. The horror.

Don’t get me wrong, it’ll probably be easy to get used to, but should a big brand really make a big change that their loyal customers need to ‘get used to’ for no real reason? The new packaging isn’t particularly striking, and so I can’t really see the benefit of this change.

Then there are the changes to the names. Allegedly ‘Coke Zero’ is changing to ‘Zero Sugar’ because a lot of the UK public weren’t actually aware that Coke Zero contained zero sugar. (Seriously, UK public?!) So that is probably a good call by the brand bosses. At least they’re making some aspect of the branding easy to understand…

As for Coke Light, I’m not sure why that’s being changed. Diet Coke has been Diet Coke since it’s launch in the 80s, and so I’m pretty sure everybody knows what it means and what to expect. Whilst on my travels however I have previously discovered that some other countries already use ‘Coke Light’, perhaps in the same way that other countries use ‘Axe’ as opposed to ‘Lynx’ deodorant. Perhaps they’re trying to make the brand more uniform throughout the globe?

So, in summary, I’m not sure what Coke are trying to achieve here. Sure it’s good to have a change once in while – but normally this should be a change for the better. I’m not saying that the new packaging is bad (perhaps just a little misleading), but it’s certainly not an improvement.

It may be a little while before the UK will see the change – however I actually came across this whilst on holiday last month:

So the change isn’t too far away! Better start memorising the subtle differences between the bottles/cans.

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The Two Sarahs, graphic design, Southampton