Is Coca-Cola still king?

Whether it’s Coke, Diet Coke, Zero or Life, one thing is for certain, Coca-Cola dominates the market accounting for 49% of the carbonated soft drinks sold in Australia (Chessell 2016).

So why is it that this strong brand is still the king of the beverage industry? Perhaps it’s due to its status symbol – as we all want to drink what Taylor Swift drinks right? Or is it due to the brand’s strong reputation as being reliable and predicable in quality, after all we are willing to pay a premium price for Coca-Cola verse the likes of Pepsi (Iacobucci 2014).


Coca-Cola has recently announced that they are moving to ‘one brand’ marketing, as they unite the four big brands – Coke, Diet Coke, Zero and Life under the one new trendy tagline ‘taste the feeling.’

(Arthur 2016)

(Arthur 2016)

The new branding will include a revamp to the packaging and product logo graphics with the introduction of a ‘red-disc’ to assist consumers in identifying that all the Coca-Cola’s products are linked – just in case we weren’t already aware of this (Micallef 2016).

Pic 2 - coke bottles

(Wentz 2014)

“Packaging is our most visible and valuable asset” was quoted by the Coca-Cola global chief marketing officer Marcos de Quinto (Micallef 2016), with Coca-Cola highlighting the importance of packaging colours and logos as a means of engaging with customers on a visual and sensual level (Iacobucci 2014).

Coca-Cola has spent decades building their brand name through heavy marketing communications to their consumers – but even this king has learnt to adapt and evolve logos and packaging over the years.

Coca-Cola Logos

(Patel 2016)

The ‘one brand’ marketing is an enormous undertaking encompassing the biggest overhaul of Coca-Cola’s marketing and brand strategy in decades – a bold and very expensive move.

The previous model Coca-Cola adopted was to market each sub-brand separately with its own identify – we all remember the Diet Coke ads with hunky hard-working sweaty men, which triggered a brand community of female demographic Diet Coke followers.

(Brech 2014)

(Brech 2014)

Coca-Cola has successfully utilised their brand name across their line extension for the four major brands – Coke, Zero, Life and Diet Coke, achieved by applying the brand name within a product line to achieve depth (Iacobucci 2014).

Coca-Cola has also profited from the umbrella branding approach for its Coke line as the company had an established key brand name in the marketplace, that enabled the subsequent new products of Zero, Diet Coke and Life to share the same name brand, winning customers as they understood and accepted the brand (Iacobucci 2014).

So why does Coca-Cola need to do something?

Coca-Cola is sitting idle in the maturity stage of the product life-cycle where industry sales have levelled off with competition intensifying, triggering higher marketing costs with the weaker companies to be forced out of the marketplace if they do not take action (Iacobucci 2014).

Pic 5 - PLC

(BBC 2014)

Coca-Cola’s ‘one brand’ marketing will support the strategy of seeking to enlarge its distribution channels, and is complemented by its trendy new packaging.

The ‘one brand’ marketing strategy will support market penetration – by trying to sell more of the same stuff to the same customers (Iacobucci 2014).

Coca-Cola responds with product development

Coca-Cola was targeted as a key contributor to the global increase in obesity and diabetes, which has fuelled the fight against sugar as supported by Jamie Oliver, and even Australia has jumped on the bandwagon with the Rethink Sugar Drink Campaign.

(Bacon 2012)

(Bacon 2012)

The response by Coca-Cola – product development, with the introduction of Coca-Cola Life containing natural sweetener stevia as a low-kilojoule option, and smaller portion sizes including 250ml cans offered as new products to keep the current sugar-hating customer base happy (Iacobucci 2014).

Will the king of the beverage industry be successful in their ‘one brand’ strategy, or will we see Coca-Cola lose its throne and stumble into the decline stage of the product life-cycle?

Blog by Annika Bate, wordpress username: annikampk732, student ID: 214448725. email:

Reference List

Arthur, R 2016, “Extending equity and iconic appeal: Coca-Cola unites brands with global campaign”, Beverage Daily, retrieved 24 April 2016, <;

Bacon, J 2012, “Bacon: Sugar Shock”, The Washington Times, retrieved 23 April 2016, <;

BBC, 2014, “Product lifecycles”, retrieved 23 April 2016, <;

Brech, A 2014, “The Diet Coke bloke: an evolution,” Stylist, retrieved 23 April 2016, <;

Chessell, J 2016, “Coca-Cola fights anti-sugar campaign by uniting brands in ads for the first time”, Australian Financial Review, retrieved 23 April 2016, <>

Coca-Cola 2016, “The Diet Coke Story”, retrieved 22 April 2016,

Iacobucci, D 2014, ‘Marketing Management (MM), 4th Edition, Cenage Learning, Mason.

Micallef, R 2016, “Coca-Cola to roll-out “one brand” packaging in Australia”, AdNews, retrieved 23 April 2016, <>

Patel, L 2016, “The Evolution of the Best Brand Logos in History”, Citizen Tekk, <;

Wentz, L 2014, “What You Need to Know About Coca-Cola’s Surprising New CMO”, Advertising Age, retrieved 24 April 2016, <


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