After 35 years, the zero-calorie beverage brand Canadians know and love is launching a new era.

(And no, the one-and-only Diet Coke is not. being. changed. It continues to be available across the country.)

With an updated look, sleek new packaging, the debut of four bold, new zero-calorie flavours and a new campaign,  The Coca-Cola Company has set out to re-energize and modernize Diet Coke to invite a new generation of drinkers to try it – and to offer its millions of current fans a new look and more flavours.

“Diet Coke is one of the most iconic brands loved by millions of fans in North America,” said Rafael Acevedo, Coca-Cola North America’s group director for Diet Coke. “Throughout this relaunch journey, we wanted to be bold, think differently and be innovative in our approach. And most importantly, we wanted to stay true to the essence of Diet Coke while recasting the brand for a new generation.”

“We know Diet Coke has all kinds of fans – from people who have loved its great taste since it launched in 1982 to millennial men and women who are always looking to try new things,” Acevedo continued. “We’re modernizing what has made Diet Coke so special for a new generation. The same unapologetic confidence still comes through and the same great Diet Coke taste people love is here to stay, but we’re making the brand more relatable, and more authentic to modern day.”

The two-year innovation process was fueled by consumer research in the US and Canada pointing to younger consumers’ affinity for bold, yet refreshing and great-tasting, flavours in their favourite foods and beverages – from hoppy craft beers to spicy sauces.

“Millennials are now thirstier than ever for adventures and new experiences, and we want to be right by their sides,” Acevedo continued. “We’re contemporizing the Diet Coke brand and portfolio with sleek packaging and new bold flavours that are appealing to new audiences.”

“Millennials are now thirstier than ever for adventures and new experiences, and we want to be right by their sides. We’re contemporizing the Diet Coke brand and portfolio with sleek packaging and new bold flavours that are appealing to new audiences.”

The company spoke to more than 10,000 people to get their ideas and inputs on potential flavour extensions, packaging updates and more. From these insights, Coca-Cola’s R&D team developed and tested more than 30 new Diet Coke flavour combinations, including tropical, citrus and even botanical notes. Ultimately, Diet Coke landed on four flavours that received the most positive consumer responses, and further research confirmed these flavours are a great fit with what Canadians are looking for.

The four bold new Diet Coke flavours – Feisty Cherry, Twisted Mango, Zesty Blood Orange and Ginger Lime – are bringing more variety to the trademark by complementing the unique, crisp taste of Diet Coke with unexpected-yet-delicious tastes. The new flavours aim to satisfy adventurous fans’ thirst for bolder tastes and more dynamic and uplifting experiences, all while remaning zero calories.

(And we heard you loud and clear on one thing: the same great Diet Coke taste loved by millions of fans is not changing!)

Acevedo said Diet Coke and its new flavours complement the brand’s no-calorie cousin, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar. “Diet Coke and Coke Zero Sugar are two delicious, no-calorie sparkling choices – it’s just a matter of personal preference. For people looking for an option that tastes like a Coca-Cola, Coke Zero Sugar is a great choice. Diet Coke and its expanded flavour portfolio provide a crisper taste and bolder flavours,” he explained.

Diet Coke and the new flavours will be packaged in sleek 310 mL cans and sold as on-the-go singles and in eight-packs. Diet Coke also will continue to be offered in all existing package sizes, such as standard 355 mL cans, mini cans, glass bottles and more.

The sleek cans will give Diet Coke a more contemporary feel. A refreshed visual identity, meanwhile, lives up to Diet Coke’s bold new flavours and packaging.

“For a design team, the opportunity to rethink such an iconic brand with the scale and reach of Diet Coke – to build on its heritage and create a visual language that will help write its next chapter – is a rare design brief,” said James Sommerville, vice president, Coca-Cola Global Design. “This visual evolution elevates the brand to a more contemporary space, while still using at its foundation the recognizable core brand visual assets.”

“For a design team, the opportunity to rethink such an iconic brand with the scale and reach of Diet Coke – to build on its heritage and create a visual language that will help write its next chapter – is a rare design brief. This visual evolution elevates the brand to a more contemporary space, while still using at its foundation the recognizable core brand visual assets.”

Anchored by the brand’s iconic silver colour, the new look-and-feel has a simplified colour palette focused on silver and red with accents of bold colour to represent the new flavours. A slightly refined typography simultaneously preserves Diet Coke’s heritage, yet presents it in a more progressive manner.

The new look also features a dynamic asset Sommerville and his team named the “High Line” – a vertical red band that flows through Diet Coke packaging and into all communications, from outdoor advertising to social media.

“The ‘High Line’ is a Coca-Cola red disc that has gone for a walk,” Sommerville explains. “It visualizes how the Diet Coke brand, the innovation – and the consumers who love Diet Coke – are continually on the move, with confidence.”

He adds, “With a brand recast, designers are challenged with determining how far is too far, and how close is not far enough. We set out to demonstrate progressive change and innovation with a look that would appeal to a consumer seeking bolder flavours, but without alienating the loyal Diet Coke fan base.”

Together, the new packaging designs and visual identity represent a personality evolution – a brand rejuvenation – for Diet Coke. And a robust integrated marketing campaign launching in Canada in February will celebrate the delicious, uplifting taste of Diet Coke and express an unapologetic, emboldened point-of-view for the brand.

Carolyn Harty, group director for sparkling brands for Coca-Cola in Canada, shares Acevedo’s excitement and optimism for the relaunch. “We know Canadians love Diet Coke and we are so excited to share the new look and flavours with them,” she said. “Diet Coke is an incredibly strong brand and Coca-Cola Zero Sugar was the fastest growing soft drink in Canada in 2017.  Together, these two brands make up the largest no-calorie soft drink portfolio in Canada and with this relaunch, we believe we can continue to re-energize and strengthen our no-calorie business.”

Diet Coke, known as Coca-Cola light in most international markets, is available in more than 110 countries around the world. The brand’s new design and flavours will be available in Canada in early February.

 

MORE ON DIET COKE RELAUNCH

The Diet Coke Design Evolution Through the Eyes of Rising Millennial Talent

How Millennial Tastes Shaped Diet Coke’s Four Bold New Flavors

You’ve Got Questions, We’ve Got Answers: Diet Coke Relaunch FAQ