It was either the worst move in soda history or a brilliant marketing ploy.
But on this day 35 years ago, Coca-Cola announced they were changing the formula for its historic drink. The move made sense as a new “Pepsi Generation” was slowly eating into profits (helped by clever, targeted advertisements to younger generations). Pepsi is a sweeter cola and “New Coke” was an intentional evolution to meet market demand.
The only problem? Tradition. Coca-Cola was a historic brand and loyal Coke drinkers didn’t want the company messing with the formula or monkeying with the brand. There was a reason Coke enthusiasts didn’t drink Pepsi. Things go better with Coca-Cola. Coke was it. It’s the real thing. I’d like to buy the world a Coke.
The outcry was so furious, loud and clear that Coke executives reversed course…sort of. New Coke was here to stay, they said, but to appease traditionalists they reintroduced Coke Classic (original formula). It seemed like a great idea, but time soon proved Coke Classic the “real thing.” A few years later, New Coke was quietly pulled from shelves (since few were buying it) and Coke Classic was renamed as “Coca-Cola” or “Coke.”
The irony? It wasn’t really the “original Coca-Cola formula.”
When the Coca-Cola company re-introduced Coke Classic they switched out sugar for “high fructose corn syrup.” It was a subtle change but noticeable to die-hard Coke aficionados. To this day, in USAmerica, Coca-Cola is served with corn syrup not sugar. If you truly want a taste of the “real (original formula) thing,” you must travel to Mexico or Africa or other parts of the world (where it’s also still sold ice cold in bottles using sugar as its sweetener).
It’s a CLASSIC tale for those who still prefer to buy the world a Coke.