Coca-Cola Zero Sugar's redesign goes heavy on the red

Refresh from Kenyon Weston debuts ahead of new campaign 'The Best Coke Ever?'

Published On
Jul 13, 2021

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Coca-Cola Zero Sugar is getting another branding overhaul and formula tweak as it tries to stem momentum from Pepsi Zero Sugar.

While the new look keeps the black-and-red color scheme, the update makes greater use of red. The Coca-Cola script is now black (rather than white in the old look). Coke will use the same ingredient mix for the variety—sweetened with a mix of aspartame and acesulfame potassium (ace-K)—but the company says it is “optimizing the blend of flavors.”

The new look was handled by design agency Kenyon Weston of London.


The overhaul is supported by a new campaign that uses the tagline, “The Best Coke Ever?” that begins Aug. 9 and will include media buys on TV, out-of-home, streaming audio, digital and social media. The agency behind it is Interpublic’s Mercado McCann, a longtime Coke roster agency that is based in Buenos Aires. Coke has already updated the variety in Europe and Latin America. The use of an overseas agency for the U.S. launch is evidence of the company’s new “networked” marketing model, which essentially means that creative briefs will be led globally with input from individual market leaders that will adjust the work where appropriate to ensure it works on a country-by-country basis.

Coke is also using celebrities and influencers to spread the word. The company shared photos of model Emily Ratajkowski enjoying what Coke described as a “first sip” of the drink in New York City on Monday. A Coke representative confirmed she is being used as an influencer and won’t appear in the larger campaign.

Coke Emily

Coke will attempt to win media attention in the Big Apple tonight by sampling the product at street intersections where the so-called Manhattanhenge sunset can be viewed.

Trade magazine Beverage Digest reported this morning that Coke is sending media kits to influencers that “plays with the notion of ‘Old Coca-Cola Zero Sugar’ versus ‘New Coca-Cola Zero Sugar,’ perhaps harkening back to the New Coke saga of 1985.” 

The “The Best Coke Ever?” line also seems aimed at trying to stir conversation on social media, while representing a change in tactic in how the no-sugar, zero-calorie variety is compared with full-calorie regular Coke.

“While Coke Zero Sugar marketing has long focused on the brand’s quest to taste just like regular Coke Classic, the new campaign appears to amusingly pit the two brands against each other,” Beverage Digest observed.

Coke Zero Sugar grew sales volume by 5% last year (while regular Coke dropped 4%), according to Beverage Digest. Coke Zero remains much larger than Pepsi Zero Sugar, but Pepsi’s variety is making gains, with sales up nearly 24% last year, according to Beverage Digest.

Coke’s branding update comes four years after it renamed Coke Zero to Coke Zero Sugar in an attempt to more clearly communicate that the variety does not have sugar. That move was also accompanied by a design and formula tweaks.