Case study: Diet Coke and its creative designers

The soft drink brand, which is sold in 127 markets and is globally worth $11bn, has a long-standing relationship with fashion. Designers such as Matthew Williamson, Gianfranco Ferre, Marni and Roberto Cavalli have all used their skills to design bottles and cans, targeting women who are into fashion.

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In 2010 and 2011, Karl Lagerfeld collaborated with Diet Coke to design a range of limited edition bottles. For the 2011 campaign, Lagerfeld, who claims he only drinks Diet Coke, also shot the advertising campaign for the brand. He famously proclaimed in a Harpers Bazaar interview: “I drink Diet Coke from the minute I get up to the minute I go to bed. I can even drink it in the middle of the night, and I can sleep. I don’t drink coffee, I don’t drink tea, I drink nothing else.”

However, the roles that celebrity designers took on had added weight when Diet Coke created its first creative director role in 2012, which went to Jean Paul Gaultier for projects in that year. At the time the designer said: “The brand asked me to explore its fun personality and to style the bottle. I want to show people the codes and signatures I love. The bottles have the shape of a woman’s body, so it was great fun to ‘dress’ them.”

It was the first time that a fashion designer became involved in so many aspects of the brand. As well as creating the limited edition collection of bottles and cans, Gaultier was also involved in developing online content, retail concepts and ad campaigns across Europe.

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As part of its 30th anniversary campaign, Sparkling Together for 30 years, the brand announced that Marc Jacobs will be creative director of Diet Coke for 2013. The designer has created limited edition bottles and will also star in a short film entitled Marc Jacobs’ Photo Booth Break.

On his appointment, Jacobs said: “I feel very privileged to be the new creative director of Diet Coke and put my stamp on the 30th anniversary campaign. Diet Coke is an icon… and I love an icon.”

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