The Thin Line Between SUCCESS & FAILURE

The Thin Line Between SUCCESS & FAILURE

Some fascinating thoughts on ‘2 Brands That We All Admire’. 

The ‘New Coke’ Marketing Mistake – that become their greatest move

Most of us are aware that coke was originally developed while trying to find a cure for morphine addiction.

And even though it tasted tremendous success in the years ahead and became an American Dream, an American Symbol and a household name. It did have its fair share of ups and downs.

That’s where Pepsi comes in, a challenger that emerged from nowhere in 1980 and shook the dominance of Coke with its taste test. It really did give Coke a scare with youngsters thronging to it like a moth to a flame.

The Pepsi Challenge- Please tell me which tastes better! And you know what? We’re going to film this! 

And voila, just like that “Nationwide more people prefer the taste of Pepsi over Coca-Cola,” claimed Pepsi in every ad.

And in this moment, in a hasty bid to counter, Coke took their worst ever decision to change their 100 year old recipe. 

Not to launch a new flavour or variant but to replace the old American Symbol that people loved.

Coca-Cola became New Coke.

Well, they thought it was a brilliant move, sales did go up a bit and people seemed to like the new taste.

But then it all started to fall apart just as quickly. Thousands of furious callers, hate letters, street protests and even lawsuits. 

The old coke was all they ever wanted. 

Sales fell sharply and the public criticism grew heavily. 

Their marketing move had gone horribly wrong and it took them 79 days to even react.

That’s when the team announced a muted comeback of the original taste and rebranded it as Coke Classic.

And just in a few months, the sales of Coke Classic overtook the combined sales of both the New Coke and Pepsi. Six months later, the increase in sales of Classic Coke was twice that of Pepsi.

A marketing mistake that had caused all hell to break loose, resulted in helping the brand rebuild lost fortunes. 

It made consumers realise they loved Coke and could not live without it. It made people go back to their original love and revive the falling cash flows. 

Now that’s what we could call a happy twist.

Well this was no planned move or a stroke of marketing genius. It’s just that things seemed to line up.

Imagine, if you were the new CEO who in the face of Pepsi gaining share had to do something, would you have launched a New Coke as well?

NIKE – A morbid slogan that went on to inspire a generation

In 1976, Gary Gilmore had just robbed a bank, murdered a gas station attendant and a motel worker. 

Later he was apprehended by the police and sentenced to death, where he was asked his last wish and he said his final words ‘Just Do it’

This is the origin of the much admired, recognised and celebrated ‘Just Do It’ Nike slogan.

It was a decade later that an agency executive used it in a pitch to Nike, a brand that was fast losing share and being beaten black and blue by the dominant Reebok.

And even though Nike at that time hated it, they went with it and became an instant success with their sales and fortunes truly sky rocketing.

What was thought as a nice way to connect with consumers, went on to become an Inspiration and Anthem for many athletes to come.

Forever finding its place in the Halls of Branding brilliance. 

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