Monday, February 2, 2009

The End of the Classic Era

Very quietly, KO is removing the word "Classic" from cans of Coke Classic, finally ending the New Coke saga. If you don't know the full story, the Wikipedia entry is a good start.

My memories of New Coke are still pretty fresh. I was an foreign student at college in the US in 1985 when New Coke replaced the existing Coca Cola. My memory is that New Coke tasted very similar to Pepsi, but with less burn - and more sweet.

But to many of my friends this was a betrayal. They worried that they would never find their favorite Coke again.

Immediately there was hoarding, there was a black market, there was even a protest!

And when Coke Classic was launched 77 days later, there were high fives and celebrations.

On reflection this was all a storm in a teacup (or bubble glass?).

But was this a real change to beverages? The answer was no. It would take the success of Snapple, Sundance, AriZona to materially impact the market, five years later...

RIP New Coke, and Coke Classic. Its been a long strange trip.

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