This year marks the 25th anniversary of the introduction of Diet Coke. Lost in the fanfare, however, is the almost-as-historic 22nd anniversary of the launch of New Coke (as well as the 15th anniversary of its ultimate demise). The following is the true story of that latter soda's famous failure.
Reason for failure: Rapidly losing market share due to the tremendous success of the “Pepsi Challenge” campaign, Coca-Cola dropped its one hundred-year-old flagship soda in favor of a sweeter-tasting recipe. The resulting beverage, “New Coke,” proved an instant smash, quickly outselling the original product across all demographics. Supermarkets couldn’t keep the brand on the shelf. Business schools touted “New Coke” as the very model of marketing savvy and crisis management. Late-night talk show hosts repeatedly made jokes about how no one could even remember what the “Old Coke” (or “UnCoca-Cola” as it became to be known) tasted like. People were so overwhelmed by the cola’s success, in fact, that they failed to notice the sudden and sharp increase in werewolf attacks across the United States. Within two years of New Coke’s introduction America had become 65% lyncanthrope, causing great debate about whether or not the National Anthem should be rewritten to include howls and if two werewolves could legally marry, given that one could never properly ascertain their gender unless you lifted up their tail and looked closely. Eventually the Senate sought to limit all werewolf rights, leading to a full-scale monster attack on the capital and its citizens, re-enacted in the blockbuster film “RowrRoarCrunchSlop.” By 1992 New Coke was pulled in favor of spilt blood.