Zero-sum game: Why Coke wants you to switch

If you are like me you only drink Coke every once in a while. But recent television ad showing a cinema attendant who switches drinks on patrons still has me annoyed.

It could be the teenager’s smarmy style or it could be the fact that he’s failing at the one task he has now that the collection of movie tickets is largely automated. But the real problem lives in Coke’s attempt to change people’s habits because of rising commodity prices. It’s no surprise they want to save money and, as this graph shows, sugar prices have risen threefold in the last four years.

I actually think Coke Zero tastes fine and nobody needs the six teaspoons of sugar. So my question is why have we been dealt at an unhealthy alternative for years?

You can be sure that sales if Zero are set to climb in line with Coca-Cola’s ad spend, as the popularity of the regular drink starts it’s gradual decline into obsolescence.

(Surely, the sugar-free version will eventually become the standard version and, in a flurry of good PR, people will applaud what is really a cost-saving move cloaked as a health-conscious rebranding exercise.)

But, there’s a sting in the tail.

If the anti-sugar advocates are correct and sugar is an addictive ‘poison’, should we now expect to see a slump in sales without this lethal ingredient to hook in weak-willed soft-drink consumers?

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