Coca-Cola Fountain – Adult Brand Portfolio

Building a Drink Portfolio While Promoting Customer Objectives

Photo of Diet Coke in a Coca-Cola shaped glass
Core Skills:

  • Influence through Collaboration
  • Portfolio Marketing


Problem / Challenge
Responsible for drafting and implementing value-added initiatives aimed at inciting demand for the Adult Portfolio of products while forwarding customer business objectives. The Adult Portfolio (i.e., Coca-Cola classic, diet Coke, caffeine free diet Coke, Fresca, Tab, Nestea Sweet and Unsweetened Tea, Nestea Flavored Tea, Minute Maid Lemonade and Hi-C flavors) represented 26% of the brand portfolio or 53% of total incremental brand volume.

The Opportunity – H2No
Collaboratively work with Channel specific marketing teams to build revenue-generating initiatives that leverage the entire Coca-Cola Fountain portfolio of products.

Actions  – H2No
Partnered with the internal Casual Dining Team to leverage the consumer dynamics within the channel against the core consumers of our adult portfolio.

  • Research indicated that the number one reason consumers choose tap water is for “health/weight control”
  • Identified the opportunity for diet Coke to provide consumers with real cola taste without the calories
  • Partnered with Casual Dining Team to produce and test POS (point of sale) that leveraged the taste advantage diet Coke has over tap water (Diet Coke at Lunch versus Tap Water)
    • Secured a $225K research budget to study the benefit of activating diet Coke in adult oriented outlets versus Coca-Cola classic. This research revealed a significant opportunity to promote diet Coke at lunch.
  • Integrated this insight into a national promotion to maximize the potential to reduce tap water, increase diet Coke volume and produce incremental review generating beverages for the Customer.
    • Produced and distributed internal selling documents and customer-driven information sheets
    • Working as the “consumer and brand consultant” to National Marketing I worked with specific customers on proprietary creative and promotions (e.g., Ruby Tuesday’s and their participation in the diet Coke Rewards program and Einstein’s 1Q99 promotion)

Result – H2No
Diet Coke grew 4% in FY98 while tap water consumption declined in the Casual Dining Channel

Challenge: Reformulation & Commercialization of Diet Coke in Fountain

The diet Coke product in Coca-Cola Fountain contained an artificial sweetener blend that included saccharin and was susceptible to negative consumer sentiment. With the threat of a competing diet soda offering a new, healthier blend, I was charged with mapping out and comparing the potential unintended consequences of removing saccharin from our diet fountain products.

The Opportunity
Lead a comprehensive quantitative pre-search project that was designed and executed to determine the potential impact of the three most likely Pepsi-Cola communication strategies on diet Coke and/or the entire Coca-Cola Company market share.


  • Worked with Strategic Marketing Research and an outside supplier to develop the optimal research design
  • Managed the relationship with the diet Coke advertising agency and public relations firm to develop potential PCUSA consumer ads and TCCC response to those ads
  • Completed research on time and within budget ($250K)
  • Authored the final recommendation that was to remove saccharin from our post-mix formulation to minimize the long-term negative impact to The Coca-Cola Company.
  • Meet with the product commercialization team and maintain constant communication to remain prepared to remove the saccharin and reformulate our post-mix product. This transition was expected to take 3 months.


  • It was determined that the cost to The Coca-Cola Company was $20MM in year 1 to reformulate and launch diet Coke post-mix with a new artificial sweetener blend.
  • And, removing saccharin from the ingredients increased the brand’s cost of goods, so there would be a future gross profit loss
  • Collectively diet Coke’s fountain business was at risk – although when weighed against the potential for a national negative attack campaign – it was determined that CC Fountain would indeed remove saccharin from its post-mix, turning to a new tri-blend instead.

Overall Coca-Cola Fountain Results

  • In 1999 the Adult Portfolio in Coca-Cola Fountain produced 4.3MM incremental gallons, or 53% of the total Coca-Cola Fountain incremental brand volume.
  • Developed and executed the diet Coke plan in FY97, FY98 and FY99. The first year saw diet Coke outperformed the category 2:1. Volume gains were also achieved in FY98 and FY99, +4% and +2% respectively.
  • Developed marketing strategies for Coca-Cola classic in FY97 with success in occasion-based messaging within the Fast Food and Casual Dining Channels.

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