With an updated look, sleek new packaging, the debut of four bold, new flavors and a new campaign, The Coca-Cola Company is hoping to re-energize and modernize Diet Coke for a new generation.
The two-year innovation process was fueled by consumer research pointing to younger Americans’ affinity for big, yet refreshing and great-tasting, flavors in their favorite foods and beverages — from hoppy craft beers to spicy sauces.
The new flavors include Ginger Lime, Feisty Cherry, Zesty Blood Orange and Twisted Mango and they aim to satisfy adventurous fans’ thirst for bolder tastes and more dynamic and uplifting experiences.
However, the soda is not being reformulated, and will still be sweetened with aspartame and acesulfame potassium (ace-K).
Rafael Acevedo, Coca-Cola North America’s group director for Diet Coke, says Diet Coke and its new flavors complement the brand’s no-calorie cousin, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar.
“Diet Coke and Coke Zero Sugar are two delicious, no-calorie sparkling choices — it’s just a matter of personal preference,” he explains. “For people looking for an option that tastes like a Coca-Cola, Coke Zero Sugar is a great choice. Diet Coke and its expanded flavor portfolio provide a crisper taste and bolder flavors,” he explains.
Diet Coke and the new flavors will be packaged in newly designed, sleek 12-oz. cans and sold as on-the-go singles and in eight-packs. Diet Coke also will continue to be offered in all existing package sizes, such as standard 12-oz. cans, mini cans, glass bottles and more. All new packaging and flavors hit store shelves this month.
The new sleek cans — the same shape and size DASANI Sparkling — will give Diet Coke a more contemporary feel. A refreshed visual identity, meanwhile, lives up to Diet Coke’s new flavors and packaging.
“For a design team, the opportunity to rethink such an iconic brand with the scale and reach of Diet Coke — to build on its heritage and create a visual language that will help write its next chapter — is a rare brief,” says James Sommerville, vice president, Coca-Cola Global Design. “This visual evolution elevates the brand to a more contemporary space, while still using at its foundation the recognizable core brand visual assets.”
Anchored by the brand’s iconic silver color, the new look-and-feel has a simplified color palette focused on silver and red with accents of bold color to represent the new flavors. A slightly refined typography simultaneously preserves Diet Coke’s heritage, yet presents it in a more progressive manner.
The new look also features a dynamic asset Sommerville and his team named the “High Line” — a vertical red band that flows through Diet Coke packaging and into all communications, from outdoor advertising to social media.
“The ‘High Line’ is a Coca-Cola red disc that has gone for a walk,” Sommerville explains. “It visualizes how the Diet Coke brand, the innovation — and the consumers who love Diet Coke — are continually on the move, with confidence.”
He adds, “With a brand recast, designers are challenged with determining how far is too far, and how close is not far enough. We set out to demonstrate progressive change and innovation with a look that would appeal to a consumer seeking bolder flavors, but without alienating the loyal Diet Coke fan base.”
Together, the new packaging designs and visual identity represent a personality evolution — a brand rejuvenation — for Diet Coke.
A robust integrated marketing campaign launching later this month will celebrate the delicious, uplifting taste of Diet Coke and express an unapologetic, emboldened point of view for the brand.
Diet Coke, known as Coca-Cola light in most international markets, is available in more than 110 countries around the world. The brand’s new design and flavors will be available first in the United States, followed by Canada in February.
And, while Diet Coke Cherry and Diet Coke Lime 12-packs are being replaced in retail stores by Diet Coke Feisty Cherry and Diet Coke Ginger Lime, the original flavors will continue to be available nationwide online. Diet Coke Cherry is available on Amazon.com here. Diet Coke Lime is available via Amazon Fresh and Peapod and will be added to Amazon.com in mid-January.