Hello and Goodbye to New Coke


On April 23, 1985, “New Coke” was introduced. The reformulated soft drink was sold for less than three months before the original formula returned.

Coca-Cola’s market share had been steadily losing ground to Pepsi and the company suspected that consumers preferred the Pepsi’s sweeter taste, which they confirmed via numerous blind taste tests. However, the American public’s reaction to the change was negative, even hostile, and the new cola was considered a major marketing failure.

The company headquarters in Atlanta started receiving letters expressing anger or deep disappointment. Over 400,000 calls and letters were received by the company. The company’s hotline, 1-800-get-Coke, received over 1,500 calls a day compared to around 400 before the change.

Coca-Cola executives announced the return of the original formula on July 11, with the rebranded name Coca-Cola Classic. “New Coke” continued to be sold throughout the United States and Canada as Coke II. However, by 1998, it could only be found in some scattered Midwestern markets, and in 2002, Coke II was discontinued entirely.