Coco Cola’s first polar bear advert appeared in 1922 and for the next 70 years Polar Bears appeared sporadically in print adverts until 1993 when they switched to Always Coca Cola.
However in recent years they have made a comeback and enable Coke to combine the two together culminating in the dozens of special creative Coke showed through the recent Super Bowl.
However it seems that Coke may have misjudged the mood with regards to the Polar Bears in a recent promotion that should have been a positive. Coke recently announced that it was pulling back on its limited-edition white Polar Bear special cans reverting back to its traditional red background can amidst consumer confusion and criticism. Basically it seems Americans couldn’t read when one white can said Coke and one said Diet Coke…..
1.4 billion white cans and caps on bottles of Coke (the first time the brand ever changed from red) were planned to blanket the U.S. and Canadian markets in 2012, featuring the iconic Coke polar bear in a holiday promo with an environmentally-friendly related cause dubbed Arctic Home.
In addition to boosting holiday sales, the white can heralded Coca-Cola’s partnership with the World Wildlife Fund with white bottle caps, on these and other Coca-Cola brands, including a special code for texting $1 donations to the WWF in their campaign to protect the polar bear's Arctic home. Coke committed up to $1 million to match consumer donations. It’s a great brand partnership if only American’s saw the charity angle to it and not just the colour changing.
The cans hit store shelves November 1st 2011 and were supposed to remain on shelves through February 2012. Now though, Coca-
Cola is pulling back on the limited-edition white cans due to customer confusion and complaints, with the first batch now in stores the only batch. The limited-edition white 'Arctic Home' cans will remain on store shelves until supplies last and then they will switch out to a red Arctic Home holiday can with the same polar bear motif.
Good intentions, a smart tie-in with Coca-Cola's brand mascot (the polar bear) and the best laid plans for a polar-white cause this Christmas were all foiled by social media, it seems.
It was through the social web that Coke heard growing rumblings that all was not well and quickly reversed their decision which is not only a humilating climb down but probably shows the lack of connection between the customer and the polar beers. Do North Americans just want their Coke regardless of whether or not they save the Polar Bear in the process?
It seems that the major confusion was from Americans who couldn’t tell the different between the white Coca Cola can and the white Diet Coke can. In know tricky isn’t, all those different words……