Magazine article Marketing

Coke Seeks Strategy to Lift Zero

Magazine article Marketing

Coke Seeks Strategy to Lift Zero

Article excerpt

Coca-Cola's youngest sub-brand is still struggling to challenge Pepsi Max 20 months after making its debut in UK.

The launch of Coca-Cola Zero in July last year was billed as the most significant addition to the Coke brand portfolio since Diet Coke's launch in 1984.

Yet 20 months after its debut, Coca-Cola has started looking for an alternative to the variant's initial 'bloke Coke' positioning (Marketing, 7 November).

Coca-Cola invested pounds 10m in marketing the product to young men as it sought to take on Pepsi Max, which has a similar masculine positioning. At the time, Coca-Cola claimed that the brand would become as big as Diet Coke within 10 years.

Although the brand is still in its infancy, Coke Zero has some way to go if it is to achieve this goal. It has grown its share by only 2.8% to 5.3% for the year to 8 September, still trailing Pepsi Max's 7.9% share of the cola market, according to Nielsen.

In the first 16 weeks following its launch, Coke Zero achieved UK sales of pounds 24.1m, although some put this down to heavy discounting and the short-term novelty factor. Also, 62% of Coca-Cola Zero's volume sales for its first 12 weeks on the market were cannibalised from its sister variants, according to Nielsen, with 32% taken from Diet Coke and 30% from regular Coke.

Coca-Cola is now rethinking its global strategy for Coke Zero, shifting its focus to the product's benefits. Coca-Cola says that Zero is aimed at those who want the full Coke taste but with zero calories; experts believe consumers are confused by the proposition. …

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