Photograph by Jenna Wakani
If you were not already aware, the goal of Coke’s most recent promotional campaign is to raise awareness and funds for polar bears and their Arctic habitat. Because of this, Coke has turned its iconic cans from Red to White. While being unique, clever, it’s caused a quite a bit a grief among avid coke fans.
“Coke tastes different inside white cans!” Reads one tweet, and it’s not alone. Thousands of tweets and Facebook updates were recorded talking about the people’s displeasure for their iconic beverage.
One couple posted a video on YouTube in which the wife claims to be able to recognize whether Coke is in a white or red can during a blindfolded taste test. “This is the funky one!” the wife shouts after drinking out of a white can. ‘
While some claims seem to have no scientific backing, other complaints are much more legitimate. Diet Coke is typically sold in white cans, and when coke drinkers found white cans inside the red coke box they instinctively assumed they were involved in some sort of packaging error.
According to Scott Williamson, A spokesman for Coca-Cola, “The white can resonated with us because it was bold, attention-grabbing and reinforced the campaign theme. Coke’s marketing executives wanted a disruptive campaign to get consumers attention.”If Coke was trying to get people’s attention, they succeeded. However, did they see the result the coming?
|“Arctic” White Can
||Diet Coke Can
As a web marketer, I think Coke may have hit a social media homerun. It got people talking about its product, the number one key to social media. It may not have been the positive response coke was looking for, but it was still a minor change, cost effective change that a huge measurable impact on their social media status.Take a step and think how was something so minor, like inverting the color of the can, became so impactful to the consumer that they mistook it for a whole other product all together? If it was a smaller brand, would anyone have noticed an inverting of the colors?
Despite all this free press, Coca-Cola announced last week that it is pulling the white cans earlier than planned and replacing it with another design that feature the traditional red-coloured background. It may be speculation, but I think Coke had this planned all along. It seems suspicious to me that they already had another can designed. It also seems fishy that, Coke knowing the subliminal power of it’s famous red branding, would change its classic branding an expect a positive feedback.The color of the can has a big psychological impact of your drinking experience.
It reminds me of a study I read inside the Buyology, Martin Lindstrom. Lindstrom describes a Neuromarketing experiment where smokers were placed inside an MRI machine and shown several images. Some of these images included cigarette packages, bright red Ferraris, Red Cars, and mechanics wearing signature red jumpsuits. The study showed that when smokers were exposed to the non-explicit images (For example: the red Ferraris) there was activity in the craving regions of their brains.
What does this have to do with coke? 2 Things:
- Coke contains a highly addictive substance, Caffeine.
- Coke uses a similar bright red color.
I don’t believe it’s too much of a stretch to say that if I were to offer you a drink in a red can, the brain will react similar to smokers seeing red Ferraris. The craving area of your mind would see activity, and you’ll expect the bubbles and fizz that’s associated with coke for years.I can’t speak for Coke, but I have a feeling they knew exactly what was coming when they changed their Cans, and they did so as a result to gain free press over it.