Coca-Cola preps Diet Coke overhaul in the UK to boost sales

The company has hinted at changes in the UK after unveiling a brand refresh and new flavours in the US.

Diet Coke overhaul

Coca-Cola is overhauling its Diet Coke brand in the US and has promised “exciting” changes in the UK to fight declining sales.

Diet Coke is rebranding with new packaging, flavours and a new campaign. The original Diet Coke flavour will continue, and the four new flavours include ginger lime, feisty cherry, zesty blood orange and twist mango. The packaging is also changing with slimmer cans, a sharper logo and different colours representing each flavour.

The launch will start mid-January in North America followed by Canada in February and a Coca-Cola spokesperson tells Marketing Week there are changes in store for the UK as well.

“In the UK we also have some exciting plans for the brand this year and will be able to reveal more in the coming months.”

It is currently unclear what the plans are for the UK, but a brand refresh could be timely as Nielsen data shows off-trade Diet Coke sales have dropped 0.6% over the past year to £420.2m. Volume sales also declined 1.7% in the 52 weeks to 9 September 2017.

Coca-Cola has previously tried to appeal to health-conscious customers by overhauling its Coke Zero variant in the UK, and launched Coca-Cola Zero Sugar in the US in July last year.

“While the low- and no-calorie beverage category has been under pressure, its performance has been improving recently, and Diet Coke remains an incredibly strong brand,” Rafael Acevedo, Coca-Cola North America’s group director for Diet Coke, says.

READ MORE: Coca-Cola Zero Sugar relaunch an early success as awareness and sales soar

“Following the double-digit growth we’ve seen from Coke Zero Sugar since its introduction last fall and with this full Diet Coke brand relaunch, we believe we can continue to re-energise and strengthen our no-calorie business.”

Diet Coke is basing the US relaunch on research gathered from more than 10,000 Americans across two years and is aiming to target a younger audience with the rebrand. It spent year two years on the brand overhaul and has chosen flavours based on research that suggests younger Americans prefer more intense flavours in food and drink.

Acevedo concludes: “With a brand recast, designers are challenged with determining how far is too far, and how close is not far enough. We set out to demonstrate progressive change and innovation with a look that would appeal to a consumer seeking bolder flavors, but without alienating the loyal Diet Coke fan base.”