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Marketing Mistakes We Can All Learn From

It’s not easy being green

Coke tried and failed to market their green-sheathed Life product in the past couple of years.   Scientists and other critics claimed that Coke was guilty of “health washing”, that is, removing some sugar in favor of a stevia-based sweetener, but retaining an adult’s dose of sugar for one day in one bottle.  Personally, I think the real problem is that Coke should never be green, just as Pepsi should never be Crystal, and Seven-up should never be gold.  As Coca-Cola discovered back in the 1980s when they introduced New Coke, hard-core Cokesters don’t care for anyone fiddling with the focus of their obsession. The many efforts of soft drink companies to attract new users to their drinker ranks with an increasingly diverse array of new entries has resulted in no fewer than 19 failures in the past 20 years (see  The industry should be congratulated for making every effort to expand their categories, but they also need to respect the power of their brands’ “golden handcuffs” — my term for brands that do such a great job selling their core brand equities that they find it almost impossible to escape from their success when they want to branch out.  It’s a high-class problem, but a problem nonetheless.