Real Men Drink Coke

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Do Real Men Drink Diet Coke?

When a couple of marketing managers for Coca-Cola told attorney Elizabeth Finn Johnson that they wanted to sue their Coke Zero colleagues for “taste infringement,” she was baffled. She tried to talk them out of it, but they were determined. They argued that Coca-Cola Classic should be protected from the age discrimination it would suffer with the introduction of a newer, younger soft drink that tasted exactly the same as the original. Frustrated, Finn Johnson held up the Coke can and shouted, “It’s not a person! Title VII doesn’t cover these things!”
What she didn’t know was that the marketing managers were actors. Hidden cameras had been planted around the meeting
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Coca-Cola is now investing more money in Coke Zero than any other brand its size, hoping it will someday be a megabrand for the company alongside Coca-Cola Classic and Diet Coke. Chief Marketing Officer Bayne is enthusiastic about the impact it may have on the company. “We do see this as potentially a bit of a white knight. There’s huge opportunity to grow here.”

SOURCES: Jerry Adler, “Attack of the Diet Cokes,” Newsweek, May 14, 2007; “Coke’s New ‘Coke Zero’ Faces Tough Going, UPI NewsTrack, June 13, 2005; Duane D. Stanford, “0: That’s Zero. As in No Calories,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, March 20, 2007; “Coca-Cola Co.,” MMR, October 30, 2006;

Open-ended questions
1. Describe the specific type of consumer that the Coca-Cola Company is targeting with each of the following products: Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Diet Coke Plus, Coca-Cola Blak, and Full Throttle Blue Demon. What types of demographic segmentation is each product’s marketing most likely to include?

2. Some industry analysts think soft-drink companies should develop products that will bring new customers into the market rather than just creating variants on the old. They warn that products like Coke Zero will cannibalize lost market share from other soft drink categories instead of increasing the number of consumers overall. Which Coca-Cola products are most likely to lose customers to Coke Zero?

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