Coca-Cola Adopts One-Brand Strategy in Europe and the US to Clear Up Confusion


The Coca-Cola Company spends a lot of time, energy and money marketing its many different brands.

The company, however, is taking a different tack in the UK and put all of its Coca-Cola products—Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero and Coke Life—into a unified brand architecture to clean up any confusion in the marketplace—especially around its beverage brands with reduced sugar and calories. (Update: The universal branding also launched today in Spain and is coming to 11 other countries including the US, as noted below.)

The rationale: Commissioned research showed that UK consumers do not fully understand the difference between the four brands, with five percent having no idea that Coca-Cola has no sugar or calories, for example.

Now, by putting them all under the Coca-Cola name, the global beverage giant hopes to differentiate them on the actual packaging.


The branding on all cans will be the same, but distinct coloring will help distinguish the varieties as the old logos move from vertical to horizontal.

Each can also features descriptive text to differentiate it from the others, while maintaining the colors from the current versions: Red(Classic). Green (Life; low-cal). Black (Zero cal, some sugar). Silver(Diet Coke; Zero cal, zero sugar)


Starting in May, all Coca-Cola advertising and messaging in the UK will feature the four brands, reports Marketing Magazine. The new campaign, which will shift the brand’s tagline from “Open happiness” to “Choose happiness,” will be showcased this fall at the Coke brand sponsored Rugby World Cup.

“By focusing on building one brand and extending the appeal of the original Coca‑Cola across our lower- and no-sugar variants, we believe we can drive sustainable growth for our business in Great Britain in the years ahead,” stated Jon Woods, General Manager of Coca‑Cola Great Britain & Ireland.

Update: It turns out it’s not just the UK that’s getting a rebrand. Coca-Cola Spain today unveiled a similar vertical-to-horizontal master brandrealignments today, as noted by Brandemia (and brandchannel Oscarreader Peláez), as you can see below.

According to Bloomberg, the UK brand refresh is stretching across Europe with the notable exception of Spain: “the new cans and bottles have started to hit store shelves now in 12 European countries, while two of the designs (for Coca-Cola and Coke Zero) are being distributed across the US.”

Spain, meanwhile, is adopting its own “separate design using the Coca-Cola logo, the color red and the traditional white ribbon for the top two-thirds of the can, while the bottom third makes use of each brand’s usual color.”

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Ireland’s The Independent newspaper notes that the change will be the equivalent of Coke doubling the marketing dollars for its low- and no-calorie drinks.

UK consumers have responded well to a new color-coded nutrition labeling system introduced last year, which has further convinced Coke that its British customers will welcome its unified branding.


As Coca-Cola Great Britain’s press release on the move notes, the rebranding follows its health moves in the market. This one brand strategy also builds on Coca‑Cola’s commitment to contribute to healthier and happier communities.

Recent actions Coca‑Cola Great Britain has taken in this area include:

• Since 2012 CCGB has reduced the average calories per litre in its range of sparkling drinks by 5.3 per cent. CCGB has invested £15 million in reformulation, including reducing the calorie and sugar content of Sprite, Dr Pepper and Fanta Fruit Twist by more than 30% between 2012 and 2014.

• In August 2014 CCGB introduced new Coca‑Cola Life – made with a blend of sugar and stevia leaf extract, containing a third less sugar and a third fewer calories than Coca‑Cola.

• In September 2014 CCGB announced it would be adopting the UK Government’s front-of-pack labelling scheme – combining Reference Intakes with red, amber and green colour coding – on its products.

•In 2013 CCGB introduced new 250ml cans for Coca‑Cola, Diet Coke and Coca‑Cola Zero which are available across the UK and in 2014 we increased distribution into more than 4,300 new stores (13,655 in total) and grew sales by 23%.

• In 2014, the company committed to spend £20 million on local programmes to help get one million Britons active by 2020 – its biggest commitment to active lifestyle projects to date.

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5 thoughts on “Coca-Cola Adopts One-Brand Strategy in Europe and the US to Clear Up Confusion

  1. Excellent blog WCM123. This new tact that Coca-Cola are looking to roll out is interesting in the fact that it is different to the typical way that many companies have separated there products that have different attributes – i.e. with different branding. It seems like this approach will allow Coca-Cola to realise the benefits of both umbrella branding and house of brands approaches.


  2. I find the different colours even more confusing than the current method. Although, I don’t drink Coke so that doesn’t help. I think they may be better off making the differences clear with the names of the different Cokes, rather than the colours. This would be much more informative for new and confused customers!


  3. New labelling on the cans indicating exactly what each strain of coke means would be incredibly helpful!
    I’ve never really understood the difference between Coke Zero and Diet Coke – which one was supposed to be ‘healthier’. What exactly does ‘zero’ mean? Is diet not as diet as it should be? If it is, then why bring another low-calorie option in? It has never been entirely clear!
    It’s essential to keep the branding the same on all the different cans and bottles, otherwise they wouldn’t be immediately recognisable as Coca-Cola, but I find the colours slightly confusing. Of course the red and white labelling is essential to the branding and recognizability, and Diet Coke has been around for so long that it would be difficult to NOT associate the silver and red with diet Coke, but I really don’t like the green. To me, it just doesn’t look ‘Coca-Cola’ enough. It just seems like they’re using green to look more, well ‘green’ (environmentally, healthy), but it just doesn’t seem right!
    I agree that it’s necessary to distinguish the different types so you wouldn’t get caught up and buying the wrong one because they all look alike, but the most important things to me would be, recognising it is a ‘Coke’ product and understanding exactly what ‘Zero’, ‘Diet’ and ‘Life’ MEAN.


  4. interesting post!
    Ithink the key success of coca-cola’s one-brand-strategy is FOCUS!
    Focus efforts on one brand, not several. After all, THE Coca-Cola is the one founded in 1886 and our BrandZ data clearly indicates that in the UK, at least, Diet and Zero are also-rans to their famous parent. They are not as famous because they are not the original. Mass brands need to reach a mass audience, no matter what pundits might tell you, and combining the four variants under one umbrella will hopefully not just create savings, but allow Coca-Cola to punch its collective weight. Besides, in spite of all the investment in Diet, Light and Zero consumers might hae already think of those as one single brand.


  5. It is humorous to see Coca-Cola collating its variance into four different colors, but when someone’s in a jiffy it can rather create a confusion to define the color and distinguish between them. I am not a regular soft drink person, so it may not exactly strike my mind the variety i need just by seeing the color and i might have actually to take the pains to read and check it before considering to buy the same. I feel the current method is much easier to recognise.


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