The Lessons of New Coke: Protect Your Brand

Originally written April 24, 2008 Yesterday was April 23, a quiet day in the Spring of 2008, a nice day; but 23 years ago, April 23 became a day that will live, as FDR put it, in infamy—at least from a marketing and public relations point of view. It was the day Coca-Cola introduced New Coke. It is nothing new to say that you need to protect the image of your brand, but that lesson was driven home with uncommon power—and violence—by the debacle that was New Coke.  Coca-Cola has been around since 1886, when Dr. John S. Pemberton, an Atlanta, Georgia, pharmacist, first produced the syrup for Coca-Cola. He took a jug of the syrup to the nearby Jacobs' Pharmacy, where, according to Coke lore, “it was sampled, pronounced "excellent" and placed on sale for five cents a glass as a soda fountain drink.” In the years since then, Coke went from a syrup mixed with soda water to a bottled beverage that could be easily distributed throughout the region, th... [Read Full Article]