Saturday, July 10, 2010

Coca-Cola Reverted To "Old" Coke On This Date

On this date in 1985, the Coca-Cola Co. relented and announced that it would resume selling "old" Coke in addition to "new" Coke, which many long-time customers disliked.  The switch to "new" Coke was initially made because Coke was steadily losing market share to Pepsi.  During World War II, Coke commanded 60% of the market, a share that had shrunk to under 24% by 1983. 

The introduction of "new" Coke on April 23, 1985, is generally regarded today an unmitigated marketing disaster. But after the Coca-Cola Co. bowed to customer demand and re-introduced the old formula again less than 90 days later, their total sales actually increased significantly. 

"New" Coke was more popular in its first few years than many people remember.  You can watch a 30 second TV commercial for "new" Coke from 1987 featuring Max Headroom HERE.  "New" Coke just sort of faded away over time, however.  In 1992, it was officially re-named "Coke II," while "old" Coke (initially "Coca-Cola Classic") was first shortened to "Coke Classic" and then later reverted back to just "Coke."  In 1998,  "Coke II" could only be found in scattered mid-western markets, and in 2002 it was quietly discontinued entirely. 

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