Now that another Halloween is in the books, marketers throughout the land can put away their vampire costumes and turn their attention to that make or break retail bonanza that is the holiday season. As an American consumer, that means being bombarded with these familiar yuletide images:
M&Ms meet Santa
And over the past decade and a half, none may be more familiar that Coke’s annual Polar Bear parade:
These lovable digital polar bears have been a mainstay of the company and the season since 1993. This year, however, Coke has decided to trade the digital bears in for the real thing (no Pepsi pun intended).
Partnering with the World Wildlife Foundation, Coca Cola has committed $2 million dollars to its latest corporate responsibility venture. Will this move resonate with the public this holiday season?
Just a thought, a Friday quick thought if you will, but I think Coke should do something radical.
They’ve tried everything in the book, dominated the carbonated beverage category for years, and have spent the last decade or so investing in every non alcoholic beverage under the sun. After the company acquired or developed beverages spanning categories from water to…whatever Fuze is, they looked up and realized there was like, 10 guys not drinking coke, diet coke, cherry coke, cherry vanilla coke, diet cherry vanilla coke…you see where this is going… So they created Coke Zero. And it did well! They boosted sales, gained some new customers, and introduced a well targeted product into the market. But like Alexander the great who famously “wept” because there were “no more lands to conquer” (buck up, dude) Coca Cola decided to forge on ahead and started messing with their packaging.
Coke realized that there were probably some women who didn’t like diet coke, but wouldn’t drink regular coke because it contained too many calories. So they made some small cans. 90 calories, problem solved.
Clearly the company has shown a tendency to go all out for the smallest customer segments, doing whatever it can to spur growth in a highly mature and saturated market place in order to attract investors. Product development is no small task. From a simple product failure perspective, to the more complicated concept of brand erosion, every new product extension is a serious gamble. But when there are no more lands to conquer, what can you do? The markets demand growth.
So, with seemingly every flavor invented, every segment and sub segment targeted, and more marketing dollars than you could shake a stick at, what’s left? Not much obviously, so why not go bold? No, not clear Coke, (please, no clear coke), They should do this:
(click here for the whole article)
The square bottle idea, part of a Coke sponsored design contest, is brilliant, and a blockbuster in waiting. Aside from the novelty aspect of a square bottle, because yea, its cool, wait..that’s the point! It’s cool! it’s environmentally friendly, its new, its square, its groundbreaking, and another opportunity to beat Pepsi. Whereas Coke generally moves first product development wise, Pepsi has done a very good job at keeping its brand name fresh, maybe a bit younger, cooler, than Cokes, wait…this sounds like another post.
Were Coke to introduce the square bottle for a limited promotion, it could absolutely dominate the cola wars for a couple of months, score major points among the yutes (thanks, My Cousin Vinny) for being edgy, green, new, and groundbreaking. When there’s hardly any share to steal from Pepsi, might as well take some of their mindshare with something we haven’t seen before, and pretty cool too.