Hey, People. Relax About the New Coke Can Color, Will You?

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There’s an uproar going on around the globe regarding the white Coca-Cola can, launched just a month ago with the intent of raising money for Polar Bear awareness.

The Coca-Cola Company has done a terrific job with the campaign, having created an entire website designed to drive awareness of the plight of the polar bear. To visit the site, click ArcticHome.com.

That said, there’s been an uproar about the fact that The Coca-Cola Company had temporarily changed the color of the can in support of the campaign to help the Polar Bears.

Here’s a 60-second snapshot of an article about this from The Wall Street Journal:

The end is near for a white can that has many Coke drinkers seeing red.

Coca-Cola Co. is switching back to its time-honored red just one month after rolling out its flagship cola in a snow-white can for the holidays. New seasonal cans in red will start shipping by next week, as white cans—initially expected to be in stores through February—make an exit.

While the company has frequently rung in the holiday with special can designs, this was the first time it put regular Coke in a white can. Some consumers complained that it looked confusingly similar to Diet Coke’s silver cans. Others felt that regular Coke tasted different in the white cans. Still others argued that messing with red bordered on sacrilege.

James Ali, who owns Wall Street Deli in an Atlanta food court, said about half a dozen customers have returned opened white cans in recent days after realizing, too late, that they weren’t drinking Diet Coke. He lets them take unopened diet cans without charging them again.

Research conducted by Baylor University (and reported on in the 60 Second Marketer) indicates that consumers are greatly influenced by a variety of conscious and subconscious motivators.

A conscious motivator for Coca-Cola would be something like flavor, fizz and sweetness. A subsconscious motivator would be something like brand imagery, a logo and the color of the can.

When it comes to soft drinks, people are greatly influenced by both conscious and subconscious motivators. (For more on this topic, read “The Taste Test They Don’t Want You to Know About” on the 60 Second Marketer.) Apparently, the color of the Coca-Cola can is such a powerful motivator that it created confusion on the part of the consumer. The result is that The Coca-Cola Company had to pull the can off the shelves.

What’s your opinion? Was it a mistake for The Coca-Cola Company to launch the white cans in support of the Polar Bears? Or did they do the right thing?

Vote below:

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Disclosure: I have worked with The Coca-Cola Company in the past both as a consultant and as a keynote speaker.

Posted by Jamie Turner, Founder of the 60 Second Marketer and co-author of How to Make Money with Social Media and Go Mobile.

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  • Anonymous

    It doesn’t matter It’s Coke! Plus as far as brand awareness I didn’t even think of a Polar Bear when I thought of Coke I think Red Can and script Writing like everyone else. Good by Polar Bear

  • http://www.60SecondMarketer.com Jamie Turner

    Thanks for your comments, Michael. We appreciate your thoughts!

    Best,
    Jamie

  • Jchz88

    I don’t understand the confusion when the brand name is so prominent on the can. Perhaps next time they could keep the red can and put a white bear on it. It would be interesting to see if people have the same reaction; if they do, I bet it will be because people feel uneasy eating/drinking while seeing a cute animal on the container the food/drink is coming from.

  • http://jd-anderson.com Jackie Chazan

    I don’t understand the confusion when the brand name is so prominent on the can. Perhaps next time they could keep the red can and put a white bear on it. It would be interesting to see if people have the same reaction; if they do, I bet it will be because people feel uneasy eating/drinking while seeing a cute animal on the container the food/drink is coming from.

  • http://www.60SecondMarketer.com Jamie Turner

    I agree with you, Jchz88 — I don’t think it’s confusing at all. And, based on the current poll results, it looks as though most people felt they should have left the can on the shelves.

  • http://www.60SecondMarketer.com Jamie Turner

    Hi, Jackie. I didn’t recognize your email address in the other comment. Good to see you. And thanks for stopping by and sharing your comments.