Marketing Audit: Coke Zero

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Marketing audit: Coke Zero Positioning strategy The American soda manufacturer Coca-Cola has been under widespread criticism for contributing to the world's obesity epidemic. However, the company also offers many diet beverages to whet consumer's appetites. The health benefits of diet beverages are somewhat controversial in the scientific community, regarding weight gain, and some research indicates that consumers who drink more diet beverages actually weigh more (Diet sweeteners increase weight gain odds, 2008, ABC News). But that has not stopped the company from marketing new diet beverages to calorie-fearing consumers, most notably its newest product: Coke Zero. Coke Zero's actual composition is not substantially different from that of Diet Coke: "The main chemical difference between Coke Zero and Diet Coke is that Coke Zero has about half the aspartame but has more ace-k" (Coke Zero: Confused, 2012, Diet Blog). However, this insignificant chemical difference means little in terms of the product strategy and positioning: Coke Zero is being 'positioned' as a 'bloke Coke,' or a diet beverage targeted towards males, versus females, and the taste differences between Coke Zero and Diet Coke are window dressing. Coke Zero is said to have a stronger, bolder flavor than Diet Coke, and while this may well be the case, its marketing is mainly designed to make males feel more comfortable consuming Coke Zero than Diet Coke (Howard 2007). Positioning strategy Because of the

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