Diet Coke gets biggest makeover ever in bid to restore cachet

Australia looks on as Diet Coke shakes up cans and flavours in US

The old war-horse of the low-sugar CSD market is nigh on 36 years old and looking a bit dusty.

Diet Coke is getting a makeover to try and reverse slumping sales for the sugar-free soda. In Nielsen figures cited by Cowen & Co analyst Vivien Azer last week, diet CSDs were down 4% in volumes for the 12 weeks to 30 December, outpacing overall CSD falls.

LaCroix is a popular drink that's swept the nation over the past few months.

Enter Coca-Cola's overhauled diet range. Additionally, new flavors have been added, including Ginger Lime, Feisty Cherry, Zesty Blood Orange and Twisted Mango. They also recommended sleeker packaging of the product. Indexiq Advsr Ltd Limited Liability Company reported 0.04% of its portfolio in Coca-Cola Bottling Co.

In a statement, the company said the re-brand will target consumers interested in trying new things, besides retaining the loyal diet coke consumer.

In the redesign announcement posted to Coke's website on Wednesday, Rafael Acevedo, Coca-Cola North America's group director for Diet Coke, lightly acknowledged the issue, and noted that they "believe" they "can continue to re-energize" the brand.

There are other likely reasons for the revamp.

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Zero Sugar launched in April 2016, since when it has been largely responsible for the growth of the Coca-Cola portfolio. Ultimately, Diet Coke landed on four flavors that received the most positive consumer responses. Whether Coke Zero Sugar actually tastes more like regular Coke - as Coca-Cola insists - is open for discussion.

Coke says the new look could help attract new drinkers beyond the product's core consumers. Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey said in July a year ago that the Coke Zero rebrand accelerated global volumes growth for the line from mid-single digits to somewhere in the teens.

What the overhaul has already done, however, is call into question the future of Coca-Cola's "One-Brand" strategy for the Coke family.

If you're a Diet Coke purist, don't worry. "And most importantly, we wanted to stay true to the essence of Diet Coke while recasting the brand for a new generation", Acevedo says. Coca-Cola is saying that, for now, the Diet Coke overhaul is just for the U.S. and Canada.

That's a sentence someone has presumably not only said, but also acted upon, as Coca-Cola have announced plans to roll out four more options on top of its standard "Diet Coke flavour".

Speaking to AdNews at the time, Coca-Cola's VP of global design James Sommerville said the brand was being diluted in store and on shelf with the different designs across Coke Zero, Coke Life and Diet Coke.

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