1985: Coca-Cola Changes the Flavor and Sparks a Customers’ Revolt

1985: Coca-Cola Changes the Flavor and Sparks a Customers’ Revolt
Photo Credit To https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:1930s_Coca-Cola_Neon_Sign.jpg

On this day, Coca-Cola made ​​one of the most famous moves in the history of marketing. It changed the taste of their drinks in order to become more competitive. It was encouraged by a gradual decline in sales over the previous decades. Namely, while it held 60% of the market after World War II, by 1983 its share had fallen to below 24%. The biggest competitor was Pepsi–Cola, which had a slightly sweeter taste and was more attractive to the younger population. When the sales of Pepsi-Cola began to surpass theirs, Coca-Cola knew something had to be done. They organized a large-scale survey, in which people were offered to taste the sweeter version of Coca-Cola. Most respondents preferred the new drink over Pepsi and the old Coke.

The Coca-Cola Company decided to switch to the production of the new beverage. However, the results were catastrophic. People across the country began to regret the loss of the old flavor. In the short term, the company received about 400,000 letters and calls from disgruntled customers. Psychologists have different explanations for this effect. Malcolm Gladwell believes that, while tasting the small amount from cups respondents prefer a sweeter taste, when buying large quantities it actually doesn’t agree with them. Already in less than three months, the administration of Coca-Cola decided to restore the old recipe in sales. Interestingly, the whole experiment increased the overall popularity of Coca-Cola, because the people were again drawn to it only when they thought that they had lost it.

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