White is (not) the new Red – Coca-Cola’s Campaign Arctic Home

But unfortunatelly, the Red identity had been too strong for Coca-Cola because not long after Coca-Cola launch the campaign, they get complaints from its consumers. Some complained because the design is confusingly similar to Diet Coke’s silver.


While others felt that regular Coke tasted different in the white cans (although actually they didn’t have any different than with the usual coke in red cans) and the most noted complaints I think for Coca-Cola that there are consumers that argued that messing with the red trademark is a sacrilege to Coca-Cola brand and heritage.

And so in response to this, Coca-Cola will introduce the version with the legendary Coke’s palete for its Arctic Home campaign and leaving the white cans on shelf while supplies last. In its defense, Coca-Cola says that the reason they introducing the red cans is to keep the brand’s traditions.


Based on this experience Coca-Cola is having makes me remembered the similar things happened with Ikea two years ago. The case which some people called it the Font War, started when Ikea decided to change the font for its well-known Ikea logo from Futura to Verdana.It didn’t wait for a long time for Ikea’s consumers to started complaining about the changes and started an outrage for a typeface all over the world.

This cases (on Coca-Cola and Ikea) make me realize on what Hermawan Kartajaya said about New Wave Marketing especially on his theories about how Differentiation is Codification (of DNA) and Brand is Character.

According to Hermawan, we are now facing the new era of marketing which is the New Wave Marketing. In this New Wave era, Differentiation is not only means how one brand is different than the other brands but actually Differentiation is evolving to the Codification of DNA. Brands need to differentiate until its deepest root or core and what is our deepest core actually? It is our own DNA !! Brands need to be more connected with its consumers by making a really more personal product that no other competitors can copy it so customers can really mark our brand’s DNA and eventually those DNA will become their DNA as well.

While the theory on why Brand is Character is simply because Character is your “true self” that define what you are, that what people know who you are and that said what values that you give to people. For example, Virgin brand had been known for its rebellious and anti status quo character, Harley is identic with a “free” character, MTV known for its playful and free thinking character.

These two things, DNA and Character are similar because you can’t change your initial character the same thing that you can’t change your DNA. 

What happened with Ikea and Coca-Cola on this case are because the changes that Ikea and Coca-Cola were making are against the DNA and Character they once had and maybe it is because it didn’t feel authentic anymore when they make those changes. Maybe for some people, Red had been Coca-Cola’s DNA and trade mark Character that they know and love so it is very difficult to go away (the same thing to Ikea also).

Well all said, it is obvious for Coca-Cola that White is (not) the new Red 🙂

Source: Diet Coke image, TIME, Wikipedia, POPSOP