Diet Coke was not accurately a requirement. By the time it introduced in summer months 1982, Coca-Cola currently had Tab, its flagship sugar-totally free soda and the major-promoting diet program soda on the industry. Tab sales were performing nicely. But the business preferred to extend the current market. Females were being the bulk drinkers of very low-calorie sodas, and males hadn’t embraced these drinks nevertheless.
So in an exertion to encourage far more men to drink its items, Coca-Cola did some thing it had under no circumstances carried out before: It attached the Coke identify for a different drink that didn’t share the unique formulation. Pepsi had done it with the launch of Eating plan Pepsi some a long time prior, but for Coke, which had extensive hesitated to risk the identify of its flagship products, this was a large deal. Diet program Coke tapped renowned guys like Taxi’s Judd Hirsch and hockey great Phil Esposito as the faces of the beverage. Watchful not to exclude gals from the internet marketing, its adverts paired Whitney Houston with boxer Evander Holyfield. For Coca-Cola, a business that tended towards summary adverts featuring polar bears and choirs of nonfamous folks, the Diet Coke brand name was screening new waters.
It aided that Food plan Coke’s start came during the identical 12 months that Coca-Cola acquired Columbia Pics, 1 of Hollywood’s oldest and most storied movie studios. Underneath Coke’s ownership, Columbia landed significant hits like Ghostbusters and The Karate Child. By 1988, Hollywood experienced thoroughly fallen in really like with Diet Coke. The New York Occasions mentioned that it was the movie industry’s “drink of decision” at functions.
When the ’90s soda slump began and people commenced to abandon sodas, Diet regime Coke very first sought to shore up food plan soda’s main base: ladies. In 1992, it shifted its slogan to be explicitly about energy — particularly, “One Brilliant Calorie.” Then in 1994, Food plan Coke rolled out what remains its most famed advertisement marketing campaign, the Diet plan Coke Split. It highlighted girls operating in an office who collected all around a window to look at a hot shirtless design worker. The ad’s star, Blessed Vanous, turned an instantaneous feeling. Persons journal named him 1 of the 50 most gorgeous people today in the environment. Vanous instructed the New York Instances that “neither I nor any one else had any notion the industrial would induce this stir.”
In the mid-’90s, younger shoppers were being turning absent from carbonated beverages, toward juices, teas, and athletics drinks. Soda was getting rid of the edge that it experienced held for a long time. Diet Coke, by then about 10 yrs aged, was currently the major diet regime drink even as soda’s overall share of the beverage pie was on the decline. That’s when the people at the rear of Food plan Coke came up with an ingenious program to get the 18–34 demographic back again. The program was Buddies.
In January 1996, Coca-Cola spent $30 million on an elaborate Diet plan Coke promoting campaign involving Ross, Rachel, and the relaxation of the gang. Friends was ascendant, and its lovable, relatable stars were being bona fide stars who encouraged haircuts, on their way to eternally alter tv. So Food plan Coke hitched its wagon to the show.
The marketing campaign involved products placements, but it did not stop there: Food plan Coke also sponsored 2,500 campus viewing get-togethers. But the centerpiece of Diet program Coke’s Buddies tie-in was the huge “Who’s Gonna Consume the Eating plan Coke?” contest.
The stars of the demonstrate appeared in an advert marketing campaign the place the premise was that another person stole a Food plan Coke from Rachel and Monica’s apartment. Each 7 days, a Diet Coke ad would air showcasing a diverse character drinking the soda. If you observed that character’s name beneath the cap of your Diet Coke, you won a prize. It all arrived to a head in the episode soon after the Tremendous Bowl, when we last but not least uncovered who stole the Diet regime Coke. (Rachel, naturally. Who else would it be?)
The marketing campaign labored like a appeal (however it was not without controversy). Gross sales rebounded, and the beverage claimed its placement as a young generation’s drink of choice. Beverage tendencies started to reverse, and for substantially of the subsequent decade soda sales skyrocketed again. In 2011, Food plan Coke even beat Pepsi for the No. 2 location for the initial time (powering standard Coke). But even as the consume arrived at this milestone, issues was on the horizon: People started abandoning soda after once more.