Skip to main content

Failure of "Coca-Cola White Christmas Can" ; Learning for a start-up?


Coca Cola's White Christmas Cans - It Came, It Confused and It got Canned!
From WSJ.com - Coca-Cola Co.  is switching back to its time-honored red just one month after rolling out its flagship cola in a snow-white can for the holidays. New seasonal cans in red will start shipping by next week, as white cans—initially expected to be in stores through February—make an exit (Full Story: WSJ)
But along with the zoom and crash voice they made, they also left a few valuable tips...


1. Packaging is a great marketing tool: Coca cola sells about 1.7 Bn serving a day - that is roughly 1 .7 Bn impressions , in Internet parlance, in front of consumer via packaging. If used effectively, 1 Bn impression may translate a lot into repeat purchase. Makes sense for an e-commerce company to use packaging more effectively in building a great  impression in consumer's mind.
One case which we know is already leveraging the packaging for building brand in India is UrbanTouch.com.   They send orders in a sturdy black box which can be used over and again! A quick search for "Urban Touch Black Box" shows some really cool and creative ways, consumers use the packaging. Other companies who are probably doing it right are: Myntra.com and Zovi.com.
2. Changes should be customer-centric - Coca Cola made changes which, in our opinion, had the right intentions: "Depicting family time together in winters and conveying fun" or" Creating awareness of Polar bears". They apparently donate 3 Mn USD for polar bears' habitat in Arctic Circle. But do consumers really want that?
Consumer speak (Source)
This is an ad campaign that could have gone horribly wrong for me and my husband. My husband was driving home late one night after working a 10 hour day. It was the end of the day. We were talking on the phone, and he told me he was very thirsty, so he was going to go grab a Diet Coke to drink on the way home. He went to his favorite store, grabbed a can from the shelf where they normally keep the Diet Coke, paid for it, left the store, and started home. He popped open the coke and took a big swig only to find that it was not Diet Coke, but regualar coke. This would not be a terrible problem for most people, but my husband is diabetic. There are 39 grams of sugar in every serving of regular coke. It is a wonder that my husband made it home. What a nasty way for Coke to say, "Hey, look at us." They certainly did get what they asked for. I feel that this was irresponsible advertising, and Coke should apologize to its consumers.
Startups - here is a great learning for you, when you are thinking of launching something new- Start with "How would I sell this?", but - "How can I make things easy for consumer to buy". The difference in the approach.
 Zomato.comCleartrip.com  and Flipkart.com has got things right to some aspects. Finding, identifying and buying the product becomes easy with  the  a great app for phone , a great (clean) website interface and  a great customer service, helps customers to interact and thereby make buying decisions, conveniently!
3. Identify how you would talk to customers and ensure that consistently! : Coca Cola forever has been red. They spend atleast 2.5 USD Bn in advertising and most of this communication ends up with Red coca cola! Why white then? Could have played on the objective while retaining the classic red color anyways.
This is even important for start-ups in India. When offering is same across all the portals, signs and language become critical propositions in what you want the consumer to think about you. In other words, what is [Your Brand] to them?
Remember, in school, your best friend was the person who you can talk anytime for anything? You were sure he would listen to you and help you. That should be criterion in creating customers as well.
Unfortunately, Indian startups  have not created such brand but one brand which comes in our mind for this is Zappos.com. Their customers are their brand ambassadors - right from policies which ensure customers feel at home to ensuring customers are helped and talked to whenever for whatever they want.
Other start-ups (not counting Flipkart.com for it is the most obvious one :)) , which we believe are on the right track in giving a great customer experience:
Do you have any other Indian start-up, you believe is doing something big for building a great brand? Do send us a tip about them.

(The post is reproduced from BoringBrands.com where Anshul works as Head of Marketing division)
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Top 5 things that make World Economic Forum work

World Economic Forum, Davos 2011.  5 days from 26 - 30 January 2011.  2500 delegates. 26000 people.  In 1 village called Davos whose population for the rest of the 51 weeks is only 13000.
Questions on its efficacy and impact are bound to happen. Especially when world's top leaders spend millions of dollars. Not counting their opportunity cost of millions of dollars which they could have used for their work.
I attempted my own rationale on 5 reasons which make World Economic Forum work.

How Branding can help your startup

I can bucket a startup entrepreneur into either of 2 buckets – one – Branding-is-for-Biggies! and second  who believe -Branding-is-important-after-Series-A-funding”. And first bucket is full till the brim. Let me start with a simple question with a possibly simple answer -

Remembering Tej...

You don't normally think of writing this for a friend who was just 31 years old.
Friend who you have just met.
I dont want any of you, reading this, to experience this ever again.

Tejendra Gwala, or Tej, as we lovingly called him, a 6ft 2 inches man was still a boy at heart. Full of dreams, full of youth and full of  dare to be different from everyone out there.



Few things -

1. He knew how to make you comfortable - I spent innumerable evenings with him - where he would just go and start speaking with strangers - whether t was a gym, dhaba or a 5 star restaurant

2. He knew his values - I was just 1 year younger than I was but he respected me and Aakriti (my wife) as his real brother and Bhabhi. There were dozens of time, when he would just call and say - I want "Ghar ka khana" and lets go for a drive.

3. He was the best closer that you would want in your team - knew how to finish things. Whether it was AV shoot in Chennai, fixing dozens of cabs, writing a strategic prese…