Thursday, December 1, 2011

Coke Sheds The Red

I caught a glance at a can of Coca-Cola earlier and did a double take. The reason I couldn't immediately recognize this iconic packaging, mistaking it for a Diet Coke, is that for the first time in the history of the soft drink, the company decided to changed the color of the can - just temporarily of course. The new can is white and features polar bears, which have been an often-used symbol by Coca-Cola during the holiday season. But it also looks similar to the latest Diet Coke packaging.

However, this is not a case of change strictly for its own sake. The white can is being used to generate awareness for the Arctic Home project, which Coca-Cola is supporting along with its partner, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The goal of the partnership is to protect the habitat of Arctic polar bears and in particular, a 500,000 square mile territory in the far north where polar ice can survive the longest. In this effort, Coke will donate $2 million to Arctic Home and match customer donations up to $1 million.

While the Arctic Home project is certainly a worthwhile cause, I don't know if I would be brave enough to change the color of the can. Afterall, I didn't immediately know I was looking at a Coke. I'll ask all the marketers and design experts, would you generate awareness for this worthy cause by altering the iconic red can?

So is this a good or bad idea? Give your take in the comments section below, via email ( or on Twitter @AlexVilleneuve. As always, thanks for reading.


Monica said...

I don't know if I would have changed the color but maybe just placing a banner on the can or a different color tab would have created some distinction for the cause. At Thanksgiving we all did a double take as well because we have both Diet and Regular Coke drinkers in the family and it definitely creates an added step to ensure you grabbed the right beverage. However, on the flip side, if the promo has a short timeframe it might not be so bad because it creates conversation since everyone does have to do a double take, making Coke a possible dinner conversation.

Brian Bowsher said...

Given the charitable component, and the connection to an established symbol, I think it's a clever move that does not hurt the brand at all.

If they bust out a neon green can then that would be a different story.