Variety-seeking Coca-Cola fans will soon have a new fun-yet-familiar flavor to reach for. Orange Vanilla Coke and Orange Vanilla Coke Zero Sugar – the first Coca-Cola trademark flavor innovations in over a decade – hit stores nationwide on Feb. 25 in a range of packaging options.
Kate Carpenter, brand director, Coca-Cola, said the 2016 launch of the One Brand strategy – which combined all Coca-Cola variants under a common visual identity and creative campaign – showcases the breadth of the brand. Following the successful relaunch of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar in 2017, the trademark team began to explore additional growth opportunities, according to a press release.
“What we realized is that we had a diamond in the rough when we looked at our flavors portfolio,” Carpenter said. “The growth of Cherry Coke and Vanilla Coke – and their zero-calorie variants – has been really strong in recent years even with very limited marketing support.”
Despite this growth, only 12 percent of Coca-Cola drinkers were reaching for flavors. “This showed us our fans want choice but are getting it outside the Coke Trademark,” Carpenter said. “We knew we had an opportunity to give fans the variety they crave without sacrificing the Coca-Cola taste they love.”
The team considered three other flavors – raspberry, lemon and ginger. But the combination of orange and vanilla emerged as the clear favorite in focus groups. Last summer, Coke Orange No Sugar launched in Australia and Coke Orange Vanilla was available in Canada.
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“We wanted to bring back positive memories of carefree summer days,” Carpenter explained. “That’s why we leaned into the orange vanilla flavor combination – which is reminiscent of the creamy orange popsicles we grew up loving, but in a classically Coke way.”
In less than a year, the Coca-Cola North America innovation team brought Orange Vanilla Coke to life – from concept, to testing, to launch.
The launch, which comes on the heels of the introduction of new Diet Coke Blueberry Acai and Strawberry Guava, is the latest example of Coca-Cola listening to what consumers want and offering an array choices that satisfy a variety of changing tastes and lifestyles – and moving quickly and taking smart risks to bring more drinks to market.
Orange Vanilla Coke and Orange Vanilla Coke Zero Sugar will be available in 12-oz. cans and 20-oz. PET bottles. The new flavor also will be available exclusively at Wendy’s restaurants in Coca-Cola Freestyle fountain dispensers through the end of the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament before rolling out nationally across all Freestyle units.