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Coca Cola pulling white cans from shelf


BrandMooreArt

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Not really. People thought Crystal Pepsi tasted like rancid cinnamon Sprite because they didn't expect a clear soda to taste like cola.

Right now, history is repeating itself.

No, Crystal Pepsi tasted like battery acid.

That said, I remember reading a story about Mexican Coke - in those old bottles with the pure cane sugar. Turns out that if you put regular Coke in a bottle that's been "aged" by rolling it around in parking lot, an overwhelming majority of people will believe it's Mexican Coke.

Good example. The simple way to discern a 'Mexican Coke' from an 'aged U.S. Coke in a glass bottle' is (surprise) to read the words on the bottle, most of which are in Spanish on a Mexican Coke (providing you're dealing with a sealed bottle, of course, because if your bottle was not sealed upon general inspection, you would reject it, right, assuming you're doing a general inspection of your bottle before you drink it?). See all the benefits of examining the packages of the things we eat for a moment before consumption?

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I'm getting a kick out of everyone who's so vehemently resisting the bottom line of just reading the farking can. It's not an 800 page tome, it's a couple of words. It's almost literally effortless. I'm enjoying that people are so helpless about something so mind-numbingly simple as picking out the right pop.

You just like to hate on people, so this isn't surprising.

What you and a few others are saying is that branding shouldn't be effective towards intelligent people; that branding isn't important in any way. Why, then, don't all manufacturers put their products in plain-label packaging? Certainly anyone with a brain will read the labels closely and choose the product they want, right? Why go through all the expense of putting your product in any particular packaging?

I think on this board we all know that answer. Therefore, when a brand that has banked on the color red for so long for one of their products changes the color of that product, there's bound to be some confusion. Is the backlash over the top? Damn right it is. But for there to be a bit of confusion when confronted with now-similar packaging for two of the brand's products? That's not really surprising at all.

(And before someone goes off on another high-and-mighty "OMG, you're a nasty soda drinker" rant to make themselves out to be superior to the supposed lesser beings around them: I don't generally drink soda, nor any caffeinated drinks.)

Also:

No, Crystal Pepsi tasted like battery acid.

Feh. Crystal Pepsi was good.

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What if Budweiser was in blue cans and Bud Light in red? Same thing -- Coke has spent decades driving home that Coke is red, Diet is gray. They switched it up unexpectedly and people are confused. I think it' reasonable confusion. It doesn't have to be a great indicator of a decaying society (whereas how much Coke we drink actually is a pretty good indicator of a decaying society, natch).

Great comparison.

Drew is oversimplifying this as "smart people read the label of what they buy and idiots don't." I could have scanned the label and still believed it was Diet Coke. It said Coca-Cola on it in some variant, which does make Diet Coke, and it was also silver/white...that is about as far as I feel I need to go in reaching for what I think is a Diet Coke.

There's no oversimplifyong going on, because THIS IS THE SIMPLEST EFFING CONCEPT ON THE PLANET. Imagine if one day Pepsi decided to change their can from white to blue...

Oh, yes, they did that, and the world survived. Speaking of which, how in the hell did people ever tell these two apart? They're both white cans!

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classic-pepsi-cans.jpg

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Why go through all the expense of putting your product in any particular packaging?

So you can differentiate your product from your competitors' with the intention of selling more than your competitors. That's what the branding is for. The words and product names are for differentiating your own products.

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Why go through all the expense of putting your product in any particular packaging?

So you can differentiate your product from you competitors with the intention of selling more than your competitors. That's what the branding is for. The words and product names are for differentiating your own products.

and for communicating a particular message aimed at a particular audience. Coke's simplicity and classic style as an "innocent" archetype for a wide American (generally) audience, to Mountain Dew's intense, in your face, X games crowds as an "explorer" archetype

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I loved the designs. it's a shame that it is being effaced due to confusion....confusion that could have been avoided had consumers taken literally 2 seconds out of their lives and READ the LABEL.

This is a clear sign of the decline of society. It's such a simple thing to do. The chief complaint is that it looks too similar to Diet Coke cans when you glance. Well, any normal person would scan over an item they are about to purchase to:

A.) Ensure they have selected the correct product

B.) Check for potential defects to the products' container that would cause them to be dissatisfied.

By the way, If I glanced quickly at a store fridge full of can drinks, and saw a Barq's Root Beer can, I could have mistaken it for a Diet coke as well, but I didn't. Why? Because I used the Human skill known as reading and studied the can.

It's truly tragic what Humanity has degraded itself to. The removal of great designs and items simply due to haste and laziness.

Of course, it would throw someone off when you first encounter the cans, but just taking a second and reading it could clear confusion, and avoid this conundrum.

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Maybe it's due to the fact that I'm a long time Coca-Cola drinker but the new cans didn't throw me at all. I've been addicted to this poison for years. Seems to me that every year Coca-Cola puts out some sort of "special" can or bottle for the holidays. When I saw the white cans (which I think look great by the way) I just figured it was a holiday special. Then again, I always buy either 12 packs or cases where the white cans are still packaged in the normal red cardboard. I'd imagine seeing a six pack of coke in white cans would throw people off a little.

I totally get the psychological thing where people think it tastes different in the white can. I have to admit that it was a little weird when I drank my first white can of coke. My brain was telling me that it shouldn't taste right because it's not in the proper can; but psychosomatic reaction aside, it tastes exactly the same.

Anyway, I can see where such a drastic move in packaging would throw people a little.

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How soon are they supposed to get pulled? I saw a whole display of them the other day.

And, yes, color matters. If the intent of brand differentiation was only to stand apart from your competitors, then ALL Coke products would come in a red can and we'd have to look at subtle differences to tell whether it was regular, diet or caffeine-free. There's a reason they all come in different packaging. It's not just stand apart from Pepsi; it's to make it as easy as possible for consumers to quickly identify that product as the one they always buy.

Imagine if orange-flavored Gatorade was suddenly colored purple. You would reasonably expect it to taste like grape and would be surprised when it tasted like orange. The "read the label" argument loses something here.

When you use specific design elements to create and reinforce expectations, you can't dismiss pushback when you stray from them.

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How soon are they supposed to get pulled? I saw a whole display of them the other day.

And, yes, color matters. If the intent of brand differentiation was only to stand apart from your competitors, then ALL Coke products would come in a red can and we'd have to look at subtle differences to tell whether it was regular, diet or caffeine-free. There's a reason they all come in different packaging. It's not just stand apart from Pepsi; it's to make it as easy as possible for consumers to quickly identify that product as the one they always buy.

Imagine if orange-flavored Gatorade was suddenly colored purple. You would reasonably expect it to taste like grape and would be surprised when it tasted like orange. The "read the label" argument loses something here.

When you use specific design elements to create and reinforce expectations, you can't dismiss pushback when you stray from them.

But on the same token, one of the specific design elements that Coca-Cola uses to reinforce the expectation for customers is its iconic script (whereas the focal point of the diet version is Diet in the script coupled with Coke in bold, serif lettering). They maintained this element to reinforce the connection between seeing the script Coca-Cola and associating it with the correct product, even though the can was white instead of red. You know, I could see if the argument was, "Coke cans should be red. They always have been and it's just weird seeing them in white. You should stick to your tradition." But the argument here is, "I picked up a can thinking it was Diet Coke but then I opened it and drank it only to find out it was regular Coke. How could you do something so misleading. I want my money back for the Coke I had to throw away, and I demand that the red cans be brought back." It's the part where people are blaming someone else for their own mistake and generally not being accountable for performing the simplest of tasks. It's always someone else's fault, it seems, and that's what bothers me about the whole thing.

I think the Gatorade example is a good one, because there are always new flavors popping up, and there are only so many colors, so often there is a new flavor in a color that's already been used, which more or less requires you to read the label to find out what flavor you're buying. It's also tough when you have, for example, purple Fierce Grape and purple Riptide Rush, but you read the label to make sure it's the one you want, and you move on with life. It's just not a difficult thing to do, and I don't think it's too much for these companies to expect consumers to read labels a bit.

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I can't believe that on this of all boards we're saying that, for branding purposes, we shouldn't expect graphics to work on their own. I thought that was the whole point of mass-market, commercial design?

You can get Mexican Coke year-round here. It's about one and a half times more than regular Coke, but worth it.

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I can't believe that on this of all boards we're saying that, for branding purposes, we shouldn't expect graphics to work on their own. I thought that was the whole point of mass-market, commercial design?

color and shape will steer you towards a product. but there are logos and information on the products to define specifics (such as the Gatorade example mentioned before). "shouldnt we expect graphics to work on their own?" well i think so; thats what logos are for. an icon that is easily and quickly read. which this can has.

like WIB said "it's to make it as easy as possible for consumers to quickly identify that product as the one they always buy." which is true. which is why "Coca Cola" was placed very large on the can. no obtrusive graphics, nothing else to take your eye away. its a white/silver, almost blank can and the large red Coca Cola logo screams off this design. that red is an instant attention getter. i think we all agree that at first glance its off putting, but i cant imagine missing the big red logo

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Looking again, it clearly says "Coca-Cola" in the classic red font. However, it's not just a white can; it's silver too. While yes, it doesn't say "Diet" (or the international "Light"), it does give the buyer pause. For an entity trying to sell a product, that's not a good thing.

I'm all for greater critical thinking faculties among the general populace. Heaven knows we need them. However, for a throwaway purchase like Coke, I'm still on the side that says it's totally legitimate and reasonable for the average shopper to be confused by this design. And, again, if the intended audience is confused, Coca-Cola has failed.

Looks nice though.

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Let's be honest: We think in terms of color. We associate things with color. That's why we now have red states and blue states (although I think Republicans should be blue and Democrats red).

And let's be honest about this, too: When we go buying for groceries, and we get to the pop aisle, we aren't going to read the whole bottle, can or box. We pick up what we want, or what we think we want, and move on. We don't spend as much time in the pop aisle as we do, for example, in produce or meats.

So Coke made a mistake, and the folks at Coke recognized it. If they can recognize it as a mistake, so should we.

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I understand where Coca-Cola's coming from; at the taco trunk near campus (Armando's at USC if you must know) I was reaching into their ice tray and since it was in the shadow I reached for the can thinking it was Diet Coke. Even when I didn't see the Diet, I just seemed really odd to me.

I think if they take the design and make the bottom red or revert back should be fine...

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Coke should have either gone with the red can above from the start, or confined the white cans to only be packaged inside red boxes so they wouldn't end up loose in deli coolers. They acknowledged those mistakes and fixed them. That's all fine and well, and I think we can all agree on that. What's not fine is people holding Coke responsible for buying the wrong can. If Coke can man up to its mistake, people do didn't read the label should own up to their mistake. Hell, I would be embarrassed to admit I bought the wrong Coke because I didn't read the can.

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You really can't blame consumers. When you're in business in the real world, you don't get to tell you're customers they're wrong. You don't get to say, "shame on the consumer for not reading the can," when the reality is, "shame on Coke for becoming the strongest beverage brand in the world without ever learning that consumers don't read cans."

This isn't about colors and fonts. That's just design. Some folks here might not like what I'm going to say next, but it's true: too often designers think they own the brand. They don't. Branding is so much more than design... it's setting expectations and delivering a consistent experience. People don't buy Coke or Diet Coke because it comes in a red can or a white can; they buy the red can because they expect it to be filled with Coke and they expect the light colored can to contain Diet Coke. People dont want the package, they want the product. In that regard, the people who mix the formula, the people who fill the cans, and the people who merchandise the shelves all have just as much of a role - I'd argue more- in delivering he consistent experience that is the Coke brand as the people who decide what the can is going to look like this year.

In the end, this becomes an excellent study in design elements. We all know the the iconic script is a powerful part of Coke's design. We also now know that it's secondary to the color of the can.

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We got Cokes and Diet Cokes from Walmart for my sister's party, and the Cokes had white cans. I was putting them in the cooler, and I totally get how they were confused, just because part of it is silver, and everyone associates coke with the classic reds.

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You really can't blame consumers. When you're in business in the real world, you don't get to tell you're customers they're wrong. You don't get to say, "shame on the consumer for not reading the can," when the reality is, "shame on Coke for becoming the strongest beverage brand in the world without ever learning that consumers don't read cans."

This isn't about colors and fonts. That's just design. Some folks here might not like what I'm going to say next, but it's true: too often designers think they own the brand. They don't. Branding is so much more than design... it's setting expectations and delivering a consistent experience. People don't buy Coke or Diet Coke because it comes in a red can or a white can; they buy the red can because they expect it to be filled with Coke and they expect the light colored can to contain Diet Coke. People dont want the package, they want the product. In that regard, the people who mix the formula, the people who fill the cans, and the people who merchandise the shelves all have just as much of a role - I'd argue more- in delivering he consistent experience that is the Coke brand as the people who decide what the can is going to look like this year.

In the end, this becomes an excellent study in design elements. We all know the the iconic script is a powerful part of Coke's design. We also now know that it's secondary to the color of the can.

I wouldn't disagree with anything in the second paragraph and below, except I would add the caveat that many people don't want the package. Some people certainly do. I've bought many things because I liked the package, and I know I'm not alone in that. Surely that's not their core consumer, but it is a small contingent of consumers that is going to be swayed one way or another by the package.

And the fact of the matter is, Coke never blamed its consumers for not reading the can (obviously that would have been a bad business decision, just like you said). The consumers blamed Coke for changing the can, and Coke relented as it should have. It;s really only other consumers that are blaming the consumers for not reading the can, and personally, I don't have any qualms holding fellow consumers to a higher standard.

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