Diet Coke has changed their slogan – again. After rolling out “You’re On. Diet Coke.” recently and receiving a lot of criticism, they have changed it back to “Just for the taste of it!” It appears that the weight of the media backlash was too heavy to bear. Diet Coke’s marketing executives acted once the slogan attracted continued negative publicity, necessitating a change and dissociation from this negativity. Click the link to see new commercial below, where there is no visible reference to a Diet Coke slogan – only a verbal reference.
Going back to the “Just for the taste of it!” slogan is an interesting choice, seeing that they have returned to this slogan three other times. This slogan launched alongside Diet Coke’s introduction in 1982, and was subsequently resurrected in 1986, 1995, 2006, and now 2014. Seems like other Diet Coke slogans just don’t have staying power like the original. The “Just for the taste of it!” turns the attention back to taste and calories. No focus on drugs – cocaine or aspartame.
In a time when all brands try desperately to manage their image – especially across social media – returning to the basics is necessary. Even as Diet Coke has worked hard to establish a strong image as a lifestyle beverage with slogans like “Stay Extraordinary” or “You’re On”, solidifying its foundation remains critical. Beyond all the dreams and aspirations, it must continue to deliver on the “brand promise” of a great-tasting sugar-free soda. With this latest debacle, here’s hoping that Diet Coke has indeed learned its lesson. As soda became linked with obesity and aspartame became linked with adverse health effects, some of Diet Coke’s campaigns veered off course to defend against these claims. Other Diet Coke campaigns focused on establishing a strong image outside of its product attributes. Both these types of campaigns made the brand less tangible and may have led people to forget what Diet Coke truly stood for. And it certainly opened the door for criticism by marketing bloggers like myself. A re-dedication to its core is essential in reviving Diet Coke.
While no publicity is bad publicity, the staying power of this bad publicity mattered more. A couple years of advertising the new-old slogan of “Just for the taste of it!” should help re-establish Diet Coke’s image of a great-tasting sugar-free drink. Who knows, it could be the right time to expand as a lifestyle beverage at that time. Diet Coke just needs to find the right balance of their image of being a great-tasting drink and being a lifestyle drink.