Click here for full list of my favorite marketing flops.

Sergio Zyman is a world renowned marketer, although, he was made notorious as a result of his idea for New Coke which was arguably the worst marketing disaster of all-time.

Before Zyman launched New Coke, Pepsi had effectively launched its Generation Next ad campaign which positioned its brand as being:

  • Modern
  • New
  • Young
  • Energetic
  • Trendy

while inadvertently positioning Coca-Cola as:

  • Old fashioned
  • Outdated
  • Older
  • Tired
  • Played out

As a result, Coca-Cole sought to build a new brand around a "better flavored" beverage, thus abandoning the 99-year old classic formula people around the world had come to enjoy, and adore.

Coca-Cole hosted a series of National "taste tests" that proved with empirical evidence that New Coke tasted better than Coke itself, and Pepsi.

On April 23, 1985, New Coke was released to a confused and bewildered public. While the Coca-Cola company praised the new flavor of New Coke, many people began boycotting the brand, and even Bill Cosby refused to continue being featured in Coca-Cola ads as he said it would "harm his credibility." My how things have changed since then...


After only 3 months, the company scratched the entire idea, and the original formula was re-introduced. Peter Jennings interrupted General Hospital to bring the news to the nation. As a result, sales for the original Coca-Cola surged, restoring it as the dominant leader in the nation's competitive soda market.

Don't compete — DOMINATE.


Matt Steffen

"Don't compete -- DOMINATE!"

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Matt Steffen was Listed by Forbes as the #1 Marketing Consultant Who Avoids the B.S.

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