Tuesday, May 12, 2015

analysis | Not the product, but the idea: Why New Coke failed with consumers.

New Coke.

Nothing else continues to evoke such fear and wonder in the world of marketing than these two words. It was an unmitigated disaster, a cautionary tale of poor planning whose very mention conjures powerful images of corporate hubris gone awry.

The quintessential marketing failure of the 1980s, New Coke was a popular name for a product heralded as the reformulated replacement of Coke, one designed to appeal to changing consumer tastes and counter sliding market share. But its eventual failure and phaseout raised an uncomfortable question the soft drink behemoth, The Coca-Cola Company, had never before confronted:

What were they selling?