Drama Mounts with Coca-Cola’s New Packaging

Last month, we blogged about Coca-Cola changing their packaging for the first time ever in a cause marketing effort to protect the Arctic home of polar bears. Check out the blog here.

Apparently that wasn’t such a great idea for Coke. In fact, they’re pulling the plug on the new white cans and changing them back to their original red. Why you ask? Customer uproar. That’s right, customers were getting the white cans confused with the silver Diet Coke cans. We all know how traumatic that can be to think you’re buying an ice cold can of refreshing Coke only to crack it open, take a sip, and taste that dreadful fake Diet Coke flavor. Ok, I’m being facetious.

Whether you think it’s ridiculous or not, you could argue that Coca-Cola should’ve thought this one through a bit more. Knowing your customers is rule number one when changing old traditions.

Why white cans? The company claimed it had intended a “disruptive” campaign to get its conservation message across. Within a few days, Coca-Cola started receiving complaints that the white cans were too easily confused with the silver Diet Coke cans, leading some weight-conscious and diabetic customers to accidentally purchase Coke instead of Diet Coke. Ok, point taken. I could see where that could get sketchy.

Coca-Cola was no stranger to polar bears and WWF – the company has supported WWF Arctic research and conservation efforts in the past and this campaign was supposed to take its commitment to a new level. Coca-Cola has pledged $2 million to help fund the creation of a safe refuge for polar bears and agreed to match up to $1 million of consumer donations made through Arctic Home by March 15, 2012.

Coca-Cola got the message and despite the fact it planned initially to have 1.4 billion white cans available until March, the company decided to halt further production of the cans. As we speak, Coca-cola is sending millions of red cans back into shops with polar bear images on them.