Review: Coca-Cola Vanilla Zero

Zero is hot for The Coca-Cola Company! Introducing the latest entry into the Zero line… Coca-Cola Vanilla Zero.

Coca-Cola Vanilla Zero

With the revival of Coca-Cola Vanilla (in English, Vanilla Coke), a diet version was needed. Rather than bringing back Diet Vanilla Coke, the folks in Atlanta tapped into their hot new brand and rolled out a cream-influenced flavor to the successful Zero lineup.

We’ve already discussed why Coca-Cola Zero was introduced (and the confusing marketing behind it), how it was relaunched here in the United States, and its first flavor extension (Coca-Cola Cherry Zero).

Diet Vanilla Coke

Is this Diet Vanilla Coke? Nope.

Coca-Cola Vanilla Zero was first hinted at back in March via an article in Coke’s hometown paper, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. Eventually, it was revealed to the world at the same time that Coca-Cola Vanilla returned to the shelves.

Diet Coke Vanilla

How about Diet Coke Vanilla? Try again.

The packaging reflects the official black look of the Zero lineup. Though from this point, it really gets sort of messy. Zero is an odd brand to work with. For example, if you look at the packaging for Coca-Cola Vanilla Zero, it’s really pushing 3 distinct marketing brands:

  • Coca-Cola – the original drink
  • The Zero line — and the diet element it represents
  • Vanilla flavoring

As such, the designers had the unfortunate duty of cramming 3 different logos onto the label, and it’s just a mess.

The Coke logo is a no brainer, and the Zero typeface has become more and more common. However, when Coca-Cola Vanilla was relaunched, they gave the phrase “Vanilla” its own font and style as well, which has been carried over to the Zero version of the drink. The result is that you really don’t know what family this drink belongs to.

The first glance look indicates “Coke” and “Zero”, but good luck trying to separate the look of this drink with that of Coca-Cola Cherry Zero. Too many brands! It would almost work better if the top-level brand was “Coca-Cola Zero” with its own logo, then with a subflavor (“Vanilla”). But the way this is visually represented, we have all 3 brands competing for attention. Blah! (Diet Pepsi Jazz has the same problem.)

As for the drink itself, I was unimpressed. It smelled like Vanilla Coke, but the execution of the Zero version of this flavor left much to be desired. Overall, the creaminess and vanilla flavoring was rather weak, opening up your taste buds to more clearly recognize the artificial sweeteners (which, like all drinks in the Zero line, consist of a combination of aspartame and acesulfame potassium (Ace-K)).

Coca-Cola Vanilla Zero

It’s Coca-Cola Vanilla Zero…
… and Vanilla Coke Zero? Good grief!

Before I wrap things up, I should also mention that this drink creates even more confusion regarding the naming conventions. Officially, it’s branded as “Coca-Cola Vanilla Zero” — not Coca-Cola Zero Vanilla or Vanilla Coca-Cola Zero. Of course, that all goes out the window when you look at the back of the bottle and see a secondary name listed: Vanilla Coke Zero.

I give up. :|