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From zero to hero: Coke unveils £10m push to sweeten sales with Zero Sugar brand

New Coca-Cola Zero Sugar 30 Second Advert | Coca-Cola GB

Coca-Cola has launched a £10m campaign for its rebranded Coke Zero Sugar, which has been given a makeover to taste more like the brand’s original Coke in a bid to get more people to try its reformulated sugar-free variant.

The campaign, originally announced in April, is being billed as Coca-Cola’s “biggest” marketing investment in a new product launch in a decade, and runs with the tagline ‘tastes more like Coke and looks more like Coke’.

The rebrand comes after research at the drinks giant revealed that half of British consumers did not know Coke Zero contained no sugar. It’s a thorny issue for Coca-Cola, which has been working to reduce the amount of sugar in its product range and encourage people to choose its no-sugar options. To better communicate the new Coke Zero recipe, the business renamed it Coke Zero Sugar. 

A TV campaign spearheads the brand revamp alongside its largest ever experiential campaign that will give away more than four million drivers over the summer to drive sampling. In London, these events will include sponsored screenings at the Barclaycard Presents British Summer Time in Hyde Park and a pop up ‘Coca-ColaZero Sugar photo booth’ at Camden Beach Bar. People will also be encouraged to share the campaign online using the #TasteTheFeeling hashtag.

Coca-Cola's sales fell for the fourth straight quarter in April as demand for its fizzy drinks declined in Europe in part due to people living healthier lifestyles. Consequently, the business is banking on the strength of the new Coke Zero Sugar push to capitalise on this shift, which is why so much is being invested to trumpet its taste. Currently, 43 per cent of Coca-Cola sold in the UK is lower or no sugar and the new marketing strategy is designed to increase this figure to more than 50 per cent by 2020.

To encourage consumers to try Coke Zero Sugar, Coca-Cola will run an extensive experiential campaign that will see over four million drinks given away over the summer.  In addition the drinks company is opening a Taste Lounge in Central London for three days this weekend, where people can try the drink in a ‘sensory’ experience.It is the latest in string of moves from Coca-Cola to spark a turnaround of sliding sales. In January, it shifted its advertising strategy to “accelerate” its low sugar variants and boost sales by promoting all of its products at the same time. The drinks maker has scrapped the tagline ‘Open Happiness’ in favour of ‘Taste the Feeling’, to fit under the ‘One Brand’ strategy it introduced last year to unite its multiple variants including Coke Life.

Jon Woods, general manager, Coca-Cola Great Britain said: “We know that millions of people across the UK love the taste of Coca-Cola Classic so we’re excited to unveil the new Coca-Cola Zero Sugar.  We already offer a number of great tasting drinks with no sugar but with Coca-Cola Zero Sugar we’ve spent years developing this new recipe to get even closer to the taste of Coca-Cola Classic without the sugar. 

“That’s important because we know a growing number of people want to reduce their sugar intake but have been reluctant to try a no sugar option because they don’t think they taste as good as the original. As well as ensuring it tastes great we’re putting our biggest marketing investment in a decade behind this launch and throughout the summer we’ll be encouraging people to choose no sugar.”

Coca-Cola also recently united its drinks under a single visual identity system anchored by the brands' 'Red Disc' in line with its One Brand strategy.

Coke Zero was launched in 2006 but only last year was it thrown in to the spotlight during Coca-Cola’s Rugby World Cup sponsorship activity.

Both Coke’s responsible marketing revamp and its one brand strategy dovetail with its efforts to move away from being a dependent on volume in favour of pushing more value sales. Coke’s president and chief operating officer James Quincey expanded on this point at the Deutsche Bank dbAccess Global Consumer Broker Conference last month.: "The two things [volume and value] can go together, because as I shift from trying to sell the extra 2-liter bottle with oversized discount to selling more beautiful, small glass bottles that is good from a revenue point of view, yet it’s also good from a shaping choice point of view.”

Featured by The Drum

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