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New Coke; Coca-Cola’S Big Mistake

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Coca-Cola’s attempt to market their new tasting product “New Coke”, made the company understand that, the original is sometimes different enough. In 1886, Doctor John Pemberton, invented the Coca-Cola formula in a brass kettle in his backyard. The name “coca-cola” was suggested by Pemberton’s bookkeeper. In fact, this bookkeeper scripted “coca cola” with flowing letters, which is the popular logo of today. The soda was brought to the public eye in 1886. In 1887, Asa Candler bought Coca Cola from Pemberton for $2,300. Pemberton died a year later. Candler’s aggressive marketing skills made Coca Cola one of America’s most popular soft drinks. Between 1890 and 1900, sales increased by over 400 percent. The drink was sold across the United States and Canada.

In 1894, Joseph A. Biedenharn, owner of a small candy store in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Previously sold Coca-Cola in a soda fountain, and because of the increasing sales, he tried bottling it himself. Biedenharn sent a case to Asa Candler, Candler thought it was a good idea and thanked him, but took no action. It wasn’t until 1899, when two attorneys from Tennessee believed they could create a business around the bottling of Coca Cola. By 1909, hundreds of Coca-Cola bottling plants were up and running, most of them were family owned. Although sales were high, bottlers worried that Coca-Cola’s bottle design was easily confused with other soft drinks. A design from the Root Glass Company, of Indiana won the companies approval. This bottle became one of the few ever granted a TM, or trademarked, by the U.S. Patent office.

Back in the 1890’s, Ernest Woodruff, president of the Trust Company of Georgia, thought that Coca-Cola had potential and persuaded his son, Robert to invest in the company’s stock (Solar Navigator). In 1923, Robert Woodruff became the new president of the now publicly traded company. It is said that Asa Candler introduced Americans to Coca-Cola, but Woodruff spent his 60 years as company leader making it worldwide. Mr. Woodruff established a foreign department for Coca-Cola, which in 1930, became the “Coca Cola Export Corporation.” Plants were opening in Guatemala, Honduras, France, Italy, Belgium, Mexico and South Africa.

Big things were happening for Coca-Cola, although the biggest were to come. Roberto Goizueta applied for a job in a Cuban newspaper, seeking a chemical engineer at Coca-Cola. In 1960, Goizueta and his wife came to the U.S. with $40 and 100 shares of Coca-Cola. He was placed in Atlanta in 1964, were after only 4 years, he got promoted to vice president of research and development (Roberto). In May 1980, after the resignation of J. Lucian Smith. Goizueta was chosen president. Once he was chairman, he made major strategic decisions to try and benefit the Coca-Cola company. The first was the type of sweetener, instead of ordinary sugar; Goizueta allowed the use of high-fructose corn syrup, this was 40 percent cheaper. Many more good ideas came about because of Goizueta including, Diet coke, and the slogan “Coke it is.” After many good decisions, the bad one had to be made. After 99 years of Coca-Cola’s original formula, they decided to change its beloved taste, but why?

In the 1980’s, Coca-Cola, found it self-loosing the consumer war with Pepsi. The only thing keeping Coca-cola from loosing money, was simply the availability of the product. Influenced by the market share decreasing in the prior years, “New Coke” as they called it, was the name of Coca-Cola’s new product. The new formula was sweeter with less “tang” as the original. After nearly 4 million dollars of research, consumers were devastated, outraged, and plainly enough, didn’t care for the new formulation. Soon enough people were hoarding over the left over cases of the original product. Newsweek reported that people were selling cases for $30 a case. It showed that people grew accustomed to Coca-Cola’s original taste. For over a hundred years Coca-Cola had convinced North Americans that Coke was a part of their lives, of their culture. For them to take it away, it was compared to “stomping on the American Flag. This was the first flavor change of Coca-Cola since its creation in 1886, over 100 years prior (Solar Navigator). Because of consumer reaction, the original formula was reissued in June of 1985. Was this all just a marketing scheme? Did Coca-Cola



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