The National Society of Tab Appreciators – if there is one – had better go to the grocery store quick: Coca-Cola announced today that the 57-year-old brand that pioneered the American diet soft drink industry is entering the U.S. Will retire.
The beverage giant also announced that this year several other “select poorly performing” products will make their final bow – including Diet Coke Feisty Cherry, Coca-Cola Life, Sprite Lymonade, and regional brands like Delaware Punch. Odwalla, the fruit juice brand that Coke bought for $ 181 million in 2001 and that Coke announced this summer to be liquidating, will also be gone by the end of the year.
Coca-Cola indicated an overhaul was imminent when the company released its second quarter results in July. It referred to “strategic actions that position the system to emerge stronger from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic,” actions that “prioritize brands that are best positioned for consumer reach and share benefits”.
In today’s announcement, Cath Coetzer, global director of innovation and marketing at Coke, insisted that portfolio trimming is not about trimming a certain number of product offerings under our brands. The aim is to drive impact and growth. It’s about continuing to follow the consumer, making very conscious choices about which of our brands deserve our investments and resources the most, and taking the difficult but important steps to identify those products that are losing relevance and therefore out of the market Portfolio should be eliminated. “
Coke net sales decreased 28% to $ 7.2 billion in the second quarter. The company will announce its third quarter results on October 22nd.
Tab wasn’t America’s first Diet Coke (that honor stems from Diet Rite, which Royal Crown introduced in 1961), but it was the first Diet Coke that caught the attention of an increasingly calorie-conscious post-war America composed mostly of female consumers . Tab’s early marketing was aimed at women concerned about staying attractive, and sales of the drink – originally sweetened with saccharin – rose accordingly. Tab pretty much ruled the Diet Coke category until the R&D department introduced Diet Coke in 1982. Aspartame, its sweetener, left drinkers less aftertaste than saccharin, and Tabs’ market share fell like a rock.
Coke kept an eye on life support despite the dismal numbers. (In 2017, Tab sales represented practically 0.03% of Coke’s total sales.) The decline is something fans have been expecting more or less for many years.
Even so, the news will hit tab fans hard. Among them is the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, who tweeted this morning, “We have weathered so many troubles and disruptions that got us in the way in 2020, but this is a really big blow.”
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