The Change Diffusion Process: Why New Coke Was No Replacement

1591 words - 6 pages

Running head: Why New Coke Was No ReplacementWhy New Coke Was No ReplacementFebruary 21, 2003I was in the fourth grade when I made my first public appeal. I remember taking my allowance up to the Convenience store, just outside of our neighborhood, in hopes of purchasing two of my favorite things - A Hershey Bar and a Coke. After I picked up my candy bar I headed to the cooler to select a cold refreshing Coke. I looked and I looked, but could not find the red can with the white letters I was so familiar with...after a few minutes I asked the clerk for some help. I was completely surprised when he said, "The New Coke is in the center cooler - top shelf." What? New Coke? Coke had been around for centuries as far as I knew. I went back to take a look for myself. There it was, exactly where he said, New Coke. Not seeing the kind of Coke I had come for, I grabbed one of the new ones and headed home.Upon reaching my house I immediately found my mom and told her what had occurred. She said that it must be "new and improved". I remember thinking that was hardly possible, yet I retreated to the kitchen table to try it out. I took a sip, then another, and finally another before I threw it away and declared that this imposter was not Coke at all. How could this happen? Why would they do this? No one asked me if I was unhappy or wanted a change. As one of Coca-Cola's most loyal customers, I decided to write a letter to voice my concern.In hindsight I am pretty certain it was not just my letter that resulted in the demise of New Coke, but I am certain that I was just one of many Coca-Cola fans that rejected this attempt for improvement. This paper summarizes the many reasons why the innovation of New Coke is considered one of the most notorious innovation blunders to date.Many still wonder why, in 1985, The Coca-Cola Company ever made a decision to tamper with such a success - a product that had been around for nearly 100 years, had achieved name recognition all over the world, was distributed in 155 countries and averaged 303 million units of consumption per day. Given the magnitude of such a shift, it is important to first illustrate prior conditions that supported the business rationale to implement such a historical decision. (Caitlan 1998, p. 9)Prior ConditionsCoca-Cola, who was in direct competition with Pepsi Cola, was losing market share during the "Pepsi Challenge" taste test campaign. After recognizing this problem or need, Coke made the decision to devise research activities by altering the original ingredients with a sweeter version, development, and test it with a sample audience. According to the article, Fiddling with the Read Thing, "From 1981 to 1984 in 25 cities in the U.S. and Canada, Coke tested the taste on more than 190,000 consumers. The New Coke flavor beat the old one by 55% to 45%. When those same people were told what they were tasting, their preference for the new flavor was even more pronounced, 61% to 39%. The new flavor also won...

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