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Coca-Cola Launches Stevia Sweetened Cola Beverage with Biomimic Marketing

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By Jarrett Hather

To get more in-depth with Coca-Cola’s green image, I will focus on the use of biomimic marketing in Coca-Cola’s new sugar-alternative drink Coca-Cola Life.

Launched in Argentina and Chile in 2013, Coca-Cola Life is the brand’s third low-calorie sweetener soda beverage, and its first made with naturally derived stevia leaf extract and regular sugar. The benefits? A 60 per cent reduction in calories versus regular Coca-Cola from using stevia, and the sweetener will not affect blood glucose or insulin levels – stevia may even promote insulin production. To appear in keeping with its new green image, Coca-Cola Life is made even greener with a fully-recyclable plant-based bottle.

Now stevia has been around for a while, but not clearly in mainstream products. Do you recognize any of these?

Zevia Soda

Stevia Sweetener

Didn’t think so. How about these?

SpriteVitamin Water Zero

They’re one of 45 products Coca-Cola add stevia to. Plain ol’ Sprite, now with stevia, was introduced to France in 2012 and spread to the UK in 2013.

Inevitably, this trend has everything to do with biomimic marketing, which uses images of nature to market a product. Next Nature explores the relation between people and nature and describes this marketing practice simply:

Nature is a terrific marketing tool and corporations know this. Somehow the natural reference provides us with a familiar feeling of recognition and trust. We call this phenomenon Bio-mimic-marketing.

Here are some examples from the Coca-Cola Life Facebook page marketed in a lifestyle and natural setting:

Image

Image

Image

Image

The photos are awash with earth tones, Instagram-like candids, and a close connection to the environment; all of this is a response to consumers demanding corporate environmental accountability. And it works. In June 2013, Reuters wrote about the decline in sodas in the United States and the need to break the barriers to consumption.

PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, told a conference hosted by Bernstein Research in May that a breakthrough in sweetener technology could help reverse the decline in sodas in the United States and that it needed to occur sooner rather than later.

“A global roll-out seems likely.” says Bill Pecoriello, an analyst with Consumer Edge Research. PepsiCo had mixed results with its use of stevia in cola, but Pecoriello believes an initiative by Coca-Cola will spur PepsiCo’s innovation.

Coca-Cola goes further to remind us of all things relatable – chicken wraps and garden weeds – with its own collection of moments: first kisses!

If launched in North America, is this the right tactic? Does Coca-Cola need to change its familia-oriented Coca-Cola Life website?

Coca-Cola holds 50 per cent market share in Argentina. If Coca-Cola Life is successfully introduced, is this telling of health conscious attitudes held everywhere?

If consumers stay educated, this is the way to go.

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