Has Coke given up on Emotional Advertising?

Jan 22 2016

Coca-Cola recently announced a new strapline for the brand, uniting all the different variants of the brand. As Coca-Cola spend more than 3 billion dollars a year on advertising this is quite a big event. The new strapline of “Taste the feeling” replaces “Open happiness”. This strikes me as a step backwards for the brand on two levels. Firstly, they are moving back from a more emotion based positioning to one that is much more functional. And secondly, I really don’t see how “Taste the feeling” differentiates the brand from a multitude of others.Over the years, Coca-Cola has developed their tagline from very functional beginnings (“Delicious and refreshing” in 1904) through an ever increasing and higher level focus on the emotions associated with the brand, through “Life tastes good”, “Enjoy Coca-Cola” and “Coke refreshes you best” onwards to “Always Coca-Cola”, “The Coke side of life” and most recently “Open happiness”. Although they have occasionally yo-yo’d between functional and emotional the general direction of travel has always been towards the more emotional

And now they go back to “Taste the feeling”. Taste is really not a differentiator of soft drink brands any more (unless you are very different, like Irn Bru) and this feels like a very generic tagline – very easy to agencies to come up with “something” but very difficult to create a consistent communication strategy and a distinctive positioning around.

I’m not a regular drinker of Coca-Cola (although I always have some in the fridge for guests) but this new tagline is unlikely to inspire me to drink more. When so many brands are catching on to the importance of emotions in advertising, it seems strange that Coca-Cola are bucking the trend.

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