UK sales of Diet Coke have fallen sharply despite a multimillion-pound campaign to refocus the Coca-Cola brand to a female market.
The latest figures from Nielsen show volume sales of Diet Coke down nearly 20 million over the past year across the take-home market. Coca-Cola launched its latest multimillion-pound campaign in January in a bid to resposition the brand and boost sales.
One insider says/ "The figures show that Coca-Cola is failing in its move to reposition the brand."
The Nielsen data reveals a year-on-year 5.3 per cent slide in volume sales from 29.7m to 28.14m of the Diet Coke brand. Revenue also fell, down to £26.51m from £27.42m over the year. The data compared sales in the four weeks to February 24, 2007 with the same period in 2006. Coca-Cola decided to refocus Diet Coke on its female market, following last year’s launch of the male-oriented Coke Zero. The brand’s "hunk" advertising campaign, introduced in January, was aimed at emphasising the distinction between male-oriented Coke Zero and female-oriented Diet Coke.
Coca-Cola argues that sales of its core Diet Coke brand are about the same as last year, but that launches of flavour variants of the sugar-free drink have skewed the figures.
A spokesman for Coca-Cola says: "New flavour variants create an immediate peak in sales and last year the launch of Diet Coke with Cherry occurred during this period.
"But this year’s launch of Diet Coke Citrus Zest occurred later, so it was only in the market for the last three days of this period."