New Coke, packaged in red, white and blue colors and sporting a new name - Coke II - has again failed, but marketers say the cola that has become a business nightmare also is the drink that will not die.
Marketing experts said Friday the company will keep marketing the drink created to replace the original formula. The attempted change in 1985 created a national outcry, leading the company to bring the original formula back as Coca-Cola Classic.Coke II's most recent failure came in Spokane, Wash., where the new marketing plan was launched in April. In mid-May the cola had a 1.3 percent share of the city's market, but by the middle of August the brand had slipped to a 1.1 share, said Information Resources Inc., a Chicago research company.
Coke II is seen by many as an attempt to lure Pepsi fans into the Coca-Cola camp. The new packaging even boldly proclaims, "Real Cola Taste Plus the Sweetness of Pepsi."
"Even if this (Spokane) test doesn't work, I doubt they'd pull the brand off the market," said Al Ries, a Connecticut marketing consultant. "I think they'll continue to fiddle with it. They don't want to withdraw it completely from the market because it would leave them open to the Pepsi Challenge."
Coca-Cola created a new formula despite its large market lead because Pepsi consistently beat Coke in Pepsi Challenge taste tests.
Coca-Cola executives did not return telephone calls seeking comment.