Marking a significant shift in its marketing strategy, Coca-Cola announced on January 19 that for the first time, all Coke Trademark brands will be united in one global creative campaign: Taste the Feeling.
Chief Marketing Officer Marcos de Quinto says that "the bigness of Coca-Cola resides in the fact that it’s a simple pleasure – so the humbler we are, the bigger we are. We want to help remind people why they love the product as much as they love the brand".
Rodolfo Echeverria the VP of global creative, connections and digital, adds "we’re going from Open Happiness to exploring the role Coca-Cola plays in happiness, we make simple, everyday moments more special".
Sounds like a convincing story except that it does not differentiate Coca-Cola from the competition – at all. Pepsi – Taste the feeling works just fine!
The soda industry is in decline
CMO de Quinto explains the insight behind the campaign: "we’ve found over time that the more we position Coca-Cola as an icon, the smaller we become".
The Coca-Cola Taste the Feeling slogan is weak and a missed opportunity to differentiate against Pepsi.
This is a strange insight since the decline of the soft drinks category is happening with or without the iconic Coca-Cola brand.
In the USA the category has been in decline for already 10 years(!). In 2014, there was 14 per cent less soft drinks sold than in 2004 with the biggest losses for the diet variants fuelled by concerns over the use of artificial sweeteners. "Water is hot and diet soda is not", writes the Wall Street Journal.
It is Coca-Cola and Pepsi again
Inside the soft drink category there is a shift happening: for the first time in years the regular Coca-Cola and Pepsi drinks are leading again.
Cola drinkers are back to the core: real cola with sugar.
The time could not be better to give cola drinkers the real reason to choose Coca-Cola over Pepsi.
Taste the Real Thing
Taste the Feeling is not unique. What is? Taste the Real Thing of course!
No matter whether it is a regular Coca-Cola, Diet or Life, there can only be one The Real Thing and that is Coca-Cola. The real reason to stay with the brand and buy it time after time again.
Growth from other categories
To continue growth as a company the Coca-Cola Company will need to re-focus and reposition. Get leadership positions in new categories with new products under new brands.
And while exploring new categories and working on gaining leadership positions give current consumers the reason to drink Coca-Cola: Taste the real thing.
The writer Michiel Maandag is the founder of monday brand advisory, follow him at @MichielMaandag.