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Coca-Cola Is Making This Major Change for the First Time in 5 Years

Look out for this transformation to the beloved brand.

There is arguably nothing more American than an ice cold can of Coke—or perhaps a nice tall glass bottle if you came of age before the 1960s. Earlier this year, a Brand Intimacy Study conducted by New York City marketing agency MBLM, surveyed 3,000 consumers in the U.S. to see how they connect with different companies and Coca-Cola ranked No. 1 in the beverage category. That iconic Coke logo—or Diet Coke or Coke Zero, depending on your preferences—is practically synonymous with American culture. So when the company announced on Oct. 8 that they were making a big change to their look, one they haven't made in five years, it came as a surprise to many. To find out about Coke's latest transformation, read on!

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Coke is replacing its logo for the first time in five years.

New Coke Logo
Coca-Cola Company

For the first time in five years, Coca-Cola is rebranding, and that means saying goodbye to the current Coke logo and swapping it for a new one. Under the company's new platform, called "Real Magic," there will be "a new design identity for the Coke Trademark—which includes Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Light/Diet Coke and Coca-Cola Zero Sugar—anchored by a fresh expression of the Coca-Cola logo," the company said in the announcement on its website.

Called the "Hug" logo and conceptualized by Wieden+Kennedy London, the new design isn't a total overhaul but it does curve around the sides more than the current logo, as AdWeek points out. The company says it was "inspired by iconic Coca-Cola packages wrapped with our signature trademark."

Coke's new campaign comes as the company tries to revive sales that dipped due to COVID.

New Coke Logo in New Coke ad 2021
The Coca-Cola Company via YouTube

Because Coke products—and advertisements—are a staple of many in-person experiences like going to the movies or hitting up a professional ball game, the company's visibility seems to have been dampened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Coca-Cola's net revenue fell 28 percent in the second quarter of 2020. (However, things seem to be looking up—in the second quarter of 2021, net revenue went up 42 percent.)

"We're at an inflection point," Manolo Arroyo, chief marketing officer for Coca-Cola, said in a statement. "The last 18 months have disrupted every aspect of life and presented us with a once-in-a-generation choice to go back to a binary, black-and-white way of seeing the world or help make the world a better place. 'Real Magic' is about creating a movement to choose a more human way of doing things by embracing our unique perspectives."

Coke's new ads will also reflect that non-binary, gray way of seeing the world. "This is the most diverse visual representation of the Coca-Cola brand in our history," Rapha Abreu, Coca-Cola's global vice president of design, said in a statement. "It is diverse not only in the creatives who helped bring 'Real Magic' to life and the people featured in the work, but also in the different photography and illustration styles, colors and treatments used."

The first example of Coca-Cola's new platform is the "One Coke Away From Each Other" ad, which launched on Sept. 30 and centers on the world of online gamers. It also features the new Coke logo at the end (seen here).

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Coke has gotten rid of half of its drinks in the past year.

Cans of Coca Cola Energy

In Oct. 2020, Coca-Cola announced the company would be cutting 200 drinks, about half of its entire product portfolio. "The company expects to offer a portfolio of approximately 200 master brands, an approximate 50 percent reduction from the current number, and phase out some products," James Quincey, chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola, said in an announcement at the time.

The company got rid of the iconic '70s soda Tab, along with some newer beverages like Diet Coke Feisty Cherry, Sprite Lemonade, and Coke Life. "Plans to streamline the company's beverage lineup were underway well before the coronavirus outbreak, but the pandemic promoted leadership to move faster," the company said in a statement at the time. "Ongoing COVID-19 supply chain challenges and shifting shopping behaviors prompted the company to fast-track its plan."

Then, in May 2021, Coca-Cola announced they'd be discontinuing their only energy drink, Coke Energy, in North America, after it failed to compete in a market dominated by Red Bull and Monster. By the time Coke Energy is discontinued at the end of 2021, it will have only been on the market for less than two years, as Beverage Digest reported.

But Coke has bought some new products to the table as well.

Close up of Coca Cola Plus Coffee, a new innovation of Coca Cola.

A Coca-Cola spokesperson told Reuters in May that the company is turning its focus to new better-selling drinks—like AHA sparkling water and Coca-Cola with Coffee, which were both introduced in the last two years. AHA was launched in Mar. 2020, and Coca-Cola with Coffee first hit the U.S. market in Jan. 2021. A company spokesperson told CNN in May that they're trying to do "consistent and constant evaluation of what's performing and what's not."

Coca-Cola also seems to be leaning into the surge of popularity of water and tea sales with the launch of Smartwater+ in February and Honest Yerba Mate in April. They also revamped the flavor and look of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, better known as Coke Zero, in July, and teamed up with Molson Coors to launch Topo Chico Hard Seltzer in March.

"We love our brands, make no mistake, [but] we want to make sure that we create space for new," Cath Coetzer, head of Coca-Cola's innovation and marketing operations, told The Wall Street Journal in Oct. 2020 when it was announced that Tab was being discontinued. "It's about meeting our consumers where they need us to meet them."

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Jaimie Etkin
Jaimie is the Editor-in-Chief of Best Life. Read more
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