The history of Coca-Cola takes us all the way back to 1863, when an entrepreneur invented Coca Wine. The beverage combined wine with cocaine.
An Atlanta pharmacist began serving a beverage based on Coca Wine. In 1886, Prohibition required him to replace the wine in his drink with a syrup that later evolved to what we now know as Coca Cola.
While the formula for Coca-Cola has changed slightly over the years (especially when cocaine was prohibited in 1914), customers have grown to expect a certain taste. So imagine the surprise in 1985 when this product was introduced:
The goal was to make it more competitive by giving the product a new taste. The product was in a major slump, with its market share having dropped to 24 percent, largely due to competition from Pepsi.
In blind taste tests, New Coke overwhelmingly beat both Coke and Pepsi. Customers said they loved the sweet taste but when asked if they'd drink it if it replaced Coca-Cola, most said they would, but it would take time to get used to it. A small percentage said replacing Coke would make them angry.
Coke proceeded...and people were angry. Not just "don't buy it" angry, either. A small but very vocal group of people with a lot of free time staged boycotts against the company.
Customers flooded the company's 1-800 lines, reportedly showing the same amount of grief they'd express at the loss of a family member. Coke switched back, spinning the whole mess into a campaign stating that now they're giving Americans more choice than ever. (Classic Coke or New Coke.)
To this day, some speculate that the entire thing was just a marketing ploy to bring Coke loyalists back.
What do you think? Was New Coke just a marketing ploy?