Ad Nut
Sep 16, 2021

Coke tries a new recipe, in its bottles and in its ads

A global campaign landing in Australia introduces Coca-Cola's new no-sugar recipe, its more coherent branding and an unusual but welcome new direction in its advertising.

Coke tries a new recipe, in its bottles and in its ads

Coca-Cola Australia has launched a campaign to introduce the new recipe for its "No Sugar" variety (farewell Coke Zero).

A quick-cut, meme-heavy, 30-second ad frankly asks Aussies to 'Try it first' and decide whether the new recipe is the 'Best Coke ever".  

The campaign includes TV, OOH, social and PR, plus a media partnership with ARN, which has radio hosts trying the recipe for themselves and springing taste tests on guests.

Ad Nut understands what Coca-Cola is up to with these changes. It realizes that keeping the sugar-laden and unhealthy 'Classic' Coke as its main product—and identity—is damaging its brand. So it wants to place its various varieties on a more equal footing. Ergo, 'Coke Zero' had to go as a separate brand*, with the 'No Sugar' type—adjusted to taste even more like the Classic type than Coke Zero—taking its place. It'll probably get the most marketing muscle from here on out.

The new containers being debuted in many markets make the plan really clear:

This new branding system appeals to Ad Nut's logical side.

Ad Nut also believes it was well past time for Coke to move beyond an advertising formula that had become pretty stale. Whether the approach above is the best formula henceforth remains to be seen, but at least it's something different. It'll be interesting to see how Coke's advertising evolves. 

As for the product, Ad Nut isn't sure whether the No Sugar recipe is the best Coke ever. In a blind taste test, Ad Nut found it a bit hard to distinguish from Coke Zero. When actually looking at the cans, Ad Nut could discern a slightly smoother mouth feel for the new recipe. That's about it.

Ad Nut still laments the disappearance of the Diet Coke Lemon type. But in any case Ad Nut prefers a chilly glass of cashew milk, a macchiato with almond milk, or a small glass of Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur).

* Interestingly, the brand is taking the retirement of Coke Zero slower in some places than others. In the market where Ad Nut's oak-tree home is located, for example, the new 'No Sugar" cans and bottles have appeared, with the rich red colour and black logo as seen above. But they also have a small 'Coke Zero" brand mark, which is weird since they contain the new No Sugar recipe, which is not and never was 'Coke Zero'.


Media Agency: UM
PR Agency: DEC PR
Social Media: Social Centre driven by One Green Bean
Client: Coca-Cola South Pacific
Activations: Maverick
Creative: Ogilvy Global, adapted locally

Ad Nut is a surprisingly literate woodland creature that for unknown reasons has an unhealthy obsession with advertising. Ad Nut gathers ads from all over Asia and the world for your viewing pleasure, because Ad Nut loves you. You can also check out Ad Nut's Advertising Hall of Fame, or read about Ad Nut's strange obsession with 'murderous beasts'.


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