Thursday, December 1, 2011

Time is running out if you want to buy Coke in a white holiday can…


For the first time ever the folks at Coca-Cola decided to put regular Coke in a white can for the holidays.  Reaction has been swift and negative.  Unhappy drinkers said the can looked like Diet Coke and confused them.  Others said it tasted differently.  And still others thought that messing with an icon was sacrilege.

Apparently the people at Coca-Cola failed to observe the Tropicana packaging fiasco closely enough.  Their redesign elicited similar negative comments, and I couldn’t distinguish my favorite ruby red grapefruit juice from the other flavors.  Ultimately they experienced a 20% drop in sales before they went back to the original packaging.  I think they may still be suffering as my local supermarket continues to offer deals for points on their brands.

While Coke rushes out traditional red cans to the store, I want to know what you think.  How central is packaging design to your decision-making?  Can you think of a time when it either encouraged or discouraged you from making a purchase?

Esterl, M. (2011, December 1)  A Frosty Reception for Coca-Cola’s White Christmas Cans.  Retrieved December 1, 2011, from


  1. I remember when Pepsi came out with Star Wars Episode One cans. At the time I was a sprite drinker, but that infuenced me to go out and buy all the different cans I could get my hands on. A month later I had to recycle them all because my mom said they started to smell and that our house wasn't a land fill.

  2. Personally, I believe that packaging is something that can have a large impact on the success of a product. Despite this, I believe many companies don't spend enough time thinking about their packaging because it is strictly an after thought. If thoughtfully and creatively executed, packaging could not only be used as a vessel to hold the product, but also offer added benefit's. For example, my family goes through many washes each week so my mom buys the bulk sized detergent from costco. The one disadvantage was that the bottle was so big my mom couldn't lift it and pour out detergent every time she needed to do the wash. Tide, however, came out with a bulk sized bottle intended to stay on the counter for easy use. The bottle has a spigot on the side that dispenses the detergent without having to unscrew the cap and pour out the detergent. My mom is now a loyal Tide customer.

  3. The importance of packaging varies on what I am buying, with food, nutritional value is usually my deciding factor. However, with things like cosmetics, or with any products where I really can't tell the difference between two products and their prices are more or less the same, I usually go with the one that looks cooler.
    Packaging definitely influences my decision making when purchasing perfume, I love all the pretty bottles. Though, I won't buy a perfume if I don't think it smells good, I'm way more likely to buy the one in the nicer bottle...for example, I purchased Lola by Marc Jacobs instead of Chanel No. 5, because I leave the bottle on my dresser and Lola's bottle looks nicer and I like both the scents.
    - Catherine D.

  4. Packaging definitely influences what I buy. I am always searching for the perfect shampoo. I came across TRES SEMMES NATURALS shampoo and conditioner. The shampoo is a sheer white bottle with green leaves on it and the conditioner was a black bottle with green leaves on it. There was just something about it that spoke to me so I gave it a try. It was just plain and simple.
    The black packaging does not work for me when buying gum. I don't even remember whose gum it is.
    - Susan D

  5. I've always felt bad when established brands have found it impossible to change packaging or give the company a new look without facing a massive public uproar. Generally, packaging doesn't matter to me - I want what's in the package, not the package itself. About the only major concern I have is my ability to find the product, and yes, this is an area where big color changes could make things difficult, as I wouldn't think to buy white cans of Coke if I was trying to get non-diet.

    About the only cases where packaging design matters to me is either negative (I'll avoid anything with those clamshell packages if I can help it), or if it has a really useful new feature for me. 1800 Tequila has commercials with Michael Imperioli where he shows the bottle pours shots of tequila, and I chose it for a recent holiday gift. Worked pretty well!

  6. This is hilarious. At a break in class yesterday, I found myself taking more time than I should staring at the coke cans trying to figure out which cans are regular or diet. To funny you posted this!

    In marketing, we are always reminded of the four "P's." Price, Promotion, Placement, and Product. More and more we're now hearing about the fifth P of Packaging. It is extremely crucial to maintain a familiar package, especially with a product such as coke that has a universal look and packaging.

    We may have already discussed this in class, but this summer Budweiser packaged some of their cans with American flags. I typically don't drink Budweiser but I bought some this summer for their look and to my surprise many people thought there were a great idea for a summer/patriotic look.

    Ben K.