So, real men don't drink bloke Coke
Independent, The (London), Jan 22, 2009 by OLIVER WRIGHT
After a hard day's heroism, a man needs a refreshing drink. But no calories. And no girly words like 'Diet' in the name. So Coke Zero was born. Zero sugar. 100 per cent ruggedness. That wasn't the slogan, but it might as well have been. Still, it's hardly been a runaway success. The drink - which took Britain by damp squib in 2006 - ended 2008 with a market share of 3.2 per cent, compared with Diet Coke's 25.8 per cent. And that's after spending 17m on marketing. Is it game over for bloke Coke?
The Independent wrote an article (above) about what I see as the market cannibalisation that was Coke Zero. Basically the marketing machine that is Coca Cola spent £17 million on marketing to take 10% away from their own (healthy) sales of Diet Coke. They would of sold loads of Diet Coke regardless.
However, I think this is a case of working in some markets and not in others. Unfortunately the strategy can be nothing than a gamble of throwing loads of money on marketing and seeing if it works. I'm not sure if they will keep the product that has featured in such tactical marketing activities as the James Bond Zer0 Zer0 7 cleverness that also involved Jack White (of the White Stripes) being annoyed with the unconsulted use of his music in an ad to shift Coke Zero. Lovely visuals though.
The concept of Zero is no sugar, high caffeine; it's the same as the Pepsi Max product. However, Pepsi Max is successful in the UK, but where Pepsi has lower brand presence perhaps that is where is can thrive in the niche.
On a recent trip to Croatia, Coke Zero is more popular than regular Coke! I don't think I saw Pepsi Max there.
The marketing activity campaign was very standard but caused great success: From Coca Cola Hrvaska
Coca-Cola Beverages Hrvatska (Croatia) introduced Coca-Cola Zero to the Croatian market in mid February. The product roll-out, which started on February 19, is supported by a strong TV, radio, print and outdoor campaign. The teaser phase of the campaign will last until mid-March, when the actual revealing-phase advertising will begin. An international Market Impact Team, with over 100 employees from the Croatia operations and other Coca-Cola HBC countries, will provide Coca-Cola Zero samples at shopping malls, universities, workplace cafeterias and other targeted locations during the last two weeks in March. Extensive Point-of-Purchase displays will support this sampling campaign. Coca-Cola Zero is expected to bring considerable growth to the light CSD segment in Croatia.
My Croatian friend, Zagreb based Filip Kananic say this: Hi man sure can! (great pun!)
Coke zero is popular because people are obsessed with calories and weight but they still like drinking it so they believe this is a good thing for them. Another thing is that we are not so big market and the choice of beverages isn't so big!
It is aimed to everyone, not just men!
Only few people I know drink pepsi max.
So there you have it, a focused proposition that isn't clouded by too many other factors. Very rare to have market clarity like that.
In Japan, Coca-Cola Zero is being marketed as a diet cola for MEN. I don't know if the regular Diet Coke had some sort of "girly" stigma or what.
The above states HESITATE NOT, FOR YOU ARE A JAPANESE MAN. It reads like a Samurai manual. Genius.
It's interesting to note that the first shipments of Coke Zero sold out within days in Japan, and some stores are still waiting for more. I like the stereo-typical masculine image that for the Japanese is aspirational, but to us Brits, mere fantasy.