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Why Coca-Cola Purposely Designed a Soft Drink to Fail

Remember New Coke? The reformulation of Coca-Cola in 1985 was a huge disaster for the company, although the controversy itself was advertising. But innovation in soft drinks goes on, and only seven years later, the company's North American president, Doug Ivester, introduced a new product with a large dose of pomp and circumstance. However, this promotion was not all that it appeared.  

The product was Tab Clear, a new version of the sugar- and calorie-free diet drink first introduced in 1963. While it retained its bubbles, the liquid was transparent, an obvious nod to rival Pepsi’s introduction of Crystal Pepsi earlier that year.

Publicly, Ivester boasted that Tab Clear would be yet another success in Coca-Cola’s long history of refreshment dominance. But behind the scenes, Ivester and chief marketing officer Sergio Zyman were convinced Tab Clear would be a failure—and that is exactly what they hoped would happen. Flying in the face of convention, the launch of Tab Clear was deliberately designed to self-destruct.

The idea behind Tab Clear was a genius marketing move on many levels, but still reads like a super villain scheme. Read the story of the motivation behind Tab Clear at Mental Floss.

(Image credit: Flickr user Kevin Trotman)


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