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The spot delivered lackluster results in public opinion polls and failed to impress professional ad reviewers. The ad ranked dead last in USA Today's Ad Meter. Ace Metrix, which uses panels of viewers to rank ads, also gave it a low marks. "It is a little static and boring. They are trying to promote a new product which is exciting for them and their presentation is very boring," said one female panel member, according to Ace Metrix.

But the larger campaign and overhaul is clearly working, at least judging by the first quarter results. The effort, which debuted on Jan. 10, includes a logo redesign, four new flavored varieties, such as "twisted mango" and "ginger lime," and new slim can packaging. The marketing campaign, which includes the tagline "because I can," seeks to inject the soda with a youthful, blunt-talking vibe. It is a departure from the glossy, feminine approach Diet Coke had used for years.

On the earnings call Quincey cited the new marketing, packaging and can size. "I think the combination of those three things was bold enough and interesting enough to not just engage some of the people who perhaps had lapsed from Diet Coke, but also millennials, and even some of the people who had perhaps been drinking flavored sparkling water," he said. Still, he sounded a little cautious, noting that "I'm not a big fan of drawing a trend line through one quarter."

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