Thursday, November 1, 2007
Zero My Hero
USA Today reported earlier this week on how Coca-Cola has managed to turn its Coke Zero product into a success by targeting men of all ages with “black packaging, a different sweetener and irreverent marketing.” Coke Zero, the story noted, “is Coca-Cola's first new product hit after a long list of attempts - from lime to vanilla flavors - that started strong and fizzled fast. Zero, out two years, is still growing. Sales volume is up 34% in North America year-to-date vs. the same period in 2006 … (men are) about 55% of Coke Zero buyers. It has a stronger, more Coke Classic-like flavor and seems to be holding onto male customers who've become more calorie-conscious with age but still want more flavor than most diet colas.”
Now, I have to say that I have been an avid regular cola drinker for many decades. Coke or Pepsi, I did not have a preference. Only two criterias had to be met: it was not a diet version and I would buy whichever was on sale in the grocery store for home consumption. In restaurants, they were interchangible as far as I was concerned.
However, two months ago I made the switch to Coke Zero for home consumption. I had tried it and found it tasted close enough to Coke's flavor that I could accept it as a diet drink. The zero calories was something I found I was needing, given that I was looking for ways to tweak my caloric intake now that I am in my early 40's. Clearly I am falling right into that target demographic that Coke is following with the product. I have even forgone my second criteria (price) in favor for the dietary benefits. Now, I just watch the sales in the grocery store and will stock up on 12-packs whenever the price is good (usually every four weeks or so). I've even gotten it so that my parents and my in-laws will have Coke Zero in their houses for when I visit - meaning I can stick to the drink even away from home.
The only challenge is when we go out to eat, which for the diet isn't a good thing to do in general anyway. When we do go out, I'll drink regular soda (Coke or Pepsi) but I have found I drink much less than I used to. Something about the regular soda seems "heavy" to me. Maybe it's subconscious; I know it isn't as good for me thus I tell myself it tastes "different" and thus I drink less. The mind is a powerful thing. However, I have found a restaurant or two that carries Coke Zero. The Hardees chain does that - so we actually have made a little switch when it comes to a fast burger run. We'll go to Hardees instead of McDonalds or Backyard Burger. Okay, my son prefers Hardees hotdogs too - but he's not the one driving and making the dining decision.
I am very pleased to hear the sales numbers are growing stronger; I would really hate to find another alternative. That one can of cola a day is my caffene fix (I've drank coffee and don't plan to ever start). As long as the Coca-Cola company keeps this product on the market, they have a sold-consumer.