Back in September, I began to read reports about Diet Sprite getting a new name and look, but keeping the same taste and formula. Well, that initiative has begun, at least here in Chicago, with the (re)launch of Diet Sprit Zero.
I don’t really get into “diet” drinks, other than mixing up a batch of Crystal Light. I’ve never been a fan of the aftertaste found in artificial sweeteners. But I’m always interested in good marketing and promotion, especially when it comes to soft drinks. Upon seeing the billboards for this advertising campaign, I was intrigued mainly because the image showed that the logo on the bottle would go sideways… a very unique approach.
Looking at the bottle design this new launch was replacing, it’s easy to see how it could be improved. The old logo feels dated, with the primary promotional emphasis on “Caffeine Free”. Since Diet Sprite shares that attribute with regular Sprite, there really isn’t any advantage here (other than the obvious use of the word “Diet”). Also note that the bottle color is the same as regular Sprite: green.
So when Diet Sprite Zero finally hit the shelves the other day, I picked up a bottle. To say that I was disappointed with the imaging would be an understatement. Here we have a situation where the actual product doesn’t look like the advertised bottle. (Being a Coke product, it’s not surprising. Almost every Coke TV commercial shows people drinking out of glass bottles; when was the last time you purchased one of those?).
The flavor is exactly the same… and that’s nothing really to write home about. I was just thrown off that the label showed the logo in the standard orientation when compared to the billboard. Then again, the billboard also shows the beverage defying gravity! The new promotional emphasis on the bottle is “0 Carbs – 0 Caffeine – 0 Sugar”, which I think pretty much sums up this drink.
Some have asked why Coke went with such an awkward name as “Diet Sprite Zero.” Well, it’s my opinion that this is the first phase in an advertising campaign that will result in this beverage eventually being known as “Sprite Zero”. Note that the bottle logo shows the “Diet Sprite” portion and the “Zero” portion as very distinct and not very integrated. In a year or so, look for the “Diet Sprite” logo to simply disappear and the marketing to emphasize the “Zero”. This is not unprecedented, either. Coke already uses the “Sprite Zero” brand in other countries, like in Argentina, where they just relaunched “Sprite Light” as “Sprite Zero.”
So I guess it’s just a renaming that will eventually remove the negative connotations associated with the term “diet”, while also trying to revitalize the look to attract a hipper, younger audience.