Coca Cola’s new strategic shift


Coca-Cola is a brand that needs no introduction. We all know the gratification of a cold Coke on a hot day; that satisfying pop of the bottle cap, followed by a deep swig of the sweet, fizzing goodness—this is the feeling that has made Coca-Cola synonymous with refreshment. And that is just what Marcos de Quinto, the new global chief marketing officer of the company, aims to bring back into focus with the brand-new tagline, “Taste the feeling,” introduced a few months ago. “Taste the feeling” succeeded “Open Happiness”, which debuted in 2009 with a focus on Coca-Cola’s values as a brand. De Quinto implies that Open Happiness was perhaps too philosophical, and in his words, preachy. “The more that we tried to preach to the people, the smaller we made it,” he said in an interview. This argument perhaps holds more water than we might initially assume. The range of advertisements in the “Open Happiness” campaign was successful in establishing an emotional connection with consumers, but it took the focus away from the product itself.

In simpler terms, “Open Happiness” was ideals-based, while “Taste the Feeling” is relatively more product-centric. “We have been just talking about the brand, but talking very little about the product,” said Mr de Quinto. And when you think about it, “opening happiness” can in fact apply to a lot of things. While it is true that Coca-Cola is known and loved worldwide as a brand, the focus needs to come back to the drink itself. This is what the new advertising campaign aims to achieve. The product, the soft drink, Coca-Cola, is at the center of every new ad. Coke, at its core, is a simple pleasure: imagine the ease and familiarity associated with popping open a Coke and enjoying it with your friends. With Taste the Feeling, it is exactly this that is celebrated, the brilliance of everyday moments.

To this effect, one of the major new strategic decisions is a unified marketing strategy: a one-brand approach. This renounces the idea of sub-categories of Coke, i.e. Diet Coke and Coke Zero, rather making them variants of the same drink. This underscores the brand’s commitment to choice, promoting availability and inclusivity, all within the sphere of the same well known and loved product. While most of us love Coke, some of us may be trying to live healthier lives by reducing sugar/caffeine intake, and Coke wants you to know that they will happily accommodate this. Coke is, after all, a brand for everybody. Accordingly, the new ads will include shots of all 3 types of Cokes being enjoyed by everyone.

With “Taste the Feeling”, the two most important attributes of Coke come together: the feeling of refreshment, energy, and happiness, and its taste. This is what Mr de Quinto strives to achieve, with a balance between more intensive promotion of the actual product and the optimism of Coke. He sums it up, We want to help remind people why they love the product as much as they love the brand,”