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For those who remember the mid 1980’s, sorry if I just dated some of us, one of the best marketing/branding companies of the last 50 years made, what some referred to, as one of the biggest market/brand mistakes of our generation when they changed the formula to Coke and came out with the NEW Coke.

Right after WWII, Coke owned over 50% of the software drink market – however by the early 80’s, under intense competition from Pepsi, their market share dropped almost in half.

When Coke announced the NEW Coke, Pepsi thought that they had “won” the Cola wars and put a PR campaign out stating just that.

48 Hours after the announcement of the NEW Coke, research firms estimated that over 80% of the US Population was aware of the “NEW Coke”. (THAT is brand recognition)

Later that same year under pressure from its faithful customers, Coke re-introduced the old Coke under the name “Classic Coke”. Within 6 months of this re-introduction, Coke’s sales had returned to more than twice that of Pepsi’s.

Whether just the re-introduction of the old formula was the driver to increased sales or the introduction that year of Cherry Coke, who knows.

Did Coca-Cola pull off one of the biggest marketing coupes of all-time? Or did they make one of the biggest mistakes of all time and came out smelling like roses?

Remember that next time someone says Marketing doesn’t effect sales. :o)