Coke’s Latest Plan to Lure Consumers: A New ‘Zero-Sugar’ Label

Coca-Cola Zero is getting a rebrand.
Coca-Cola 'One Brand' packaging. (Photo: Coca-Cola Co.)
Apr 20, 2016· 1 MIN READ
Culture and education editor Liz Dwyer has written about race, parenting, and social justice for several national publications. She was previously education editor at Good.

With Jamie Oliver filming kids who drink soda getting their rotted teeth yanked out—and growing concern about sugar consumption and its ties to obesity and diabetes—what’s a global beverage manufacturer with shareholders to please supposed to do? If it’s Coca-Cola, it launches a marketing campaign that plays up the sugar-free nature of one of its popular zero-calorie drinks.

On Monday, the soda behemoth announced a significant rebrand of its packaging. All the packages will incorporate the familiar red color of Classic Coke. Along with adding a bit of red to the current black cans and bottle labels that drinkers of Coca-Cola Zero are familiar with, the brand’s redesign will also feature new language: “Coca-Cola Zero: Zero Sugar.”

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The “unique product name and benefits on front of pack [are there] to help consumers make an informed choice,” wrote the company in a press release.

According to Coca-Cola, the new packaging will first be available in Mexico in May. That country’s successful soda tax has reduced consumption since it was established in 2013. It will then debut in June in the obesity-plagued United Kingdom, where a sugar tax was proposed in March and consumption of the substance is increasingly being regarded as negatively as smoking.

Coca-Cola 'One Brand' packaging on eight-ounce glass bottles. (Photo: Coca-Cola Co.)

A survey of U.K. consumers by Coca-Cola executives found that half of Brits didn’t realize that Coke Zero was sugar-free, reported The Guardian. As seen in the images, the new branding puts that fact front and center.

Of course, sugar-free soda doesn’t mean it has any nutritional value—and the acid will still destroy your teeth—but some activists seem to be willing to take what they can get. A representative from the health advocacy group Action on Sugar just wants the company to reduce the amount of sweet stuff in regular Coke.

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“While it’s encouraging to see that Coca-Cola is taking positive steps forward and offering people choice with the zero-sugar option, they now need to urgently reformulate the original taste product, which contains 35 grams of sugar in a 330 milliliter can and provides no nutritional benefit whatsoever,” Jennifer Rosborough, a nutritionist with Action on Sugar, told The Guardian.

As for when the rest of the world will get hit over the head with Coke’s new zero-sugar message, the cans and bottles will be distributed throughout 2016 and 2017.