Yesterday, Coca-Cola revealed its year-long "One Brand" unification strategy: Coke’s new packaging.
Now Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, and Coke Life will share a single branded aesthetic around the world, unified by a red disc, and advertised together in a new wave of shared commercials.
"When people see this new brand identity, they’ll know they’re buying a Coca-Cola," James Sommerville, vice president of global design, told Fastco Design.
Previously Coca-Cola gave each new product its own branding, starting in 1982. But a health-conscious public has slowed sales on sugar-based Coca-Cola, while artificially sweetened Coke sales plummet. So the company is repositioning the brands to work together.
"We really needed a visual element that could unify the portfolio," Sommerville explained. "We tried many, many things. Originally, [the Red Disc] was first painted on advertising in the 1930s, 10 years after, in the mid '40s, it was first used as a signage system in retail stores to signify to the public this is where you buy a real Coca-Cola."
After the rebrand, that sign will appear on every can of Coke, giving brand equity to newcomers like Coke Life. The packaging won't be identical around the world, but the design language will be. The cans themselves each retain a pop of unique color, which spreads all the way to the can tab or bottle cap, to give the packaging a presence on the shelf no matter which way it's turned. The disc itself can appear many different ways depending on the context.
According to Fastco Design, “While unified, it’s in many ways a looser, more casually adaptive brand than other visual identities we’ve seen recently.”
For the first time, the four brands will appear together in advertisements, assembling Avengers-style to pool consumer interest. At least that's the hope. "They were authentic, designed as sub-brands at their individual times as they entered the market in an effort to respond to the changing world," Sommerville said "and now we’re unified them to bring back and share the equity."