Coca-Cola has launched a “full brand restage” of Diet Coke in the US, debuting four new flavour varieties and an updated can format to entice a new generation of consumers.

Set to hit the US market from mid-January and Canada from February, the revamped range will be available in feisty cherry, zesty blood orange, twisted mango and ginger lime flavour options.

The new cans are taller than the traditional format and feature a vertical coloured stripe linked to the ingredient flavouring them. The traditional Diet Coke’s stripe is red for continuity with the Coca-Cola brand.

Coca-Cola undertook two years of consumer research to identify the best way to appeal to millennials amidst a continuing decline in Diet Coke’s sales. Diet Coke was inspired by Coke Zero’s rebrand to Coke Zero Sugar in July 2017 alongside tweaks to its formula which led to double digit growth for the product.

During the research process, the brand surveyed 10,000 people across the US. The chosen consumers were asked their opinions on potential new flavours, updated packaging and changing the Diet Coke formula. The 30 flavours varieties presented to the participants were developed according to studies into the food and beverage trends of millennials. Consumers were also encouraged to suggest their own flavours and then taste them at a mixology event.

The brand chose their four fresh flavours based on the responses. Zesty blood orange and twisted mango reveal the tropical, adventurous palates of millennials. Feisty cherry and ginger lime are revamped versions of popular existing Diet Coke products.
The new tall can is the same shape as Coca-Cola’s DASANI Sparkling products which were successfully rebranded in 2016. Coca-Cola claims that a sleek format visually suggests that Diet Coke is standing tall and being more assertive in keeping their products and marketing techniques up-to-date.

Coca-Cola North America’s group director for Diet Coke, Rafael Acevedo, noted the motivation behind the brand rejuvenation, saying: “We’re modernising what has made Diet Coke so special for a new generation. The same unapologetic confidence still comes through … , but we’re making the brand more relatable and more authentic.”

To avoid alienating loyal customers and retain Diet Coke’s immediate brand recognition, silver was kept as the primary colour of the redesigned cans. The vertical red stripe is a modernising of the red disk historically featured on Diet Coke products. Using a coloured stripe for the new flavoured Diet Coke products is believed to make the brand more social media friendly.

In addition, research revealed that consumers like the taste of Diet Coke and thus there will be no change to the formula, unlike the Coke Zero rebrand in 2017.

Diet Coke will continue to be available in its current packaging formats alongside this taller can. The original Diet Coke Lime and Diet Coke Cherry products will no longer be available to buy in store, but can be bought online. Other non-North American markets will consider their own separate rebrand or implement the One Brand Strategy launched in 2016.