Coca-Cola Takes Its Soda On A Spin With DJ Marshmello

Coca-Cola has another new flavor. This time, it got some help.

The latest product out of Coca-Cola Creations — Coke’s innovation platform, which brought us starlight and pixel-flavored sodas — is a collaboration with Marshmello, a masked DJ and electronic music producer.

If you think the artist worked with Coke to develop a marshmallow-flavored beverage, you’re wrong. Instead, the new flavor has notes of strawberry and watermelon, Marshmello’s favorites.

“For our third Coca-Cola Creations drop, we sought to add an unexpected remix of flavors to a great Coca-Cola taste,” said Oana Vlad, senior director of global strategy at the company, in a statement announcing the collaboration Wednesday.

“We created a vibey blend of my favorite flavors in this all-new mix,” Marshmello said in a statement. “I think it tastes amazing and I hope fans love it too.”

The new flavor, which also comes in a zero-sugar variety, will be available for purchase starting on July 11 in the United States for a limited time. It will be offered in other countries later this summer.

It’s vital for Coca-Cola (KO), which has discontinued beloved but outdated drinks like TabOdwalla and Honest Tea, to get young consumers excited about its core product, Coke. Coca-Cola Creations, which launches digital experiences along with the limited-edition flavors, is designed to help do that.

So far, the flavors have been … abstract.

Starlight was “inspired by space,” the company said in February, describing it as having “notes reminiscent of stargazing around a campfire, as well as a cooling sensation that evokes the feeling of a cold journey to space.”

Byte, the second flavor, “makes the intangible taste of the pixel tangible,” said Vlad when it launched in April.

Compared to space and pixels, strawberry and watermelon are perfectly mundane. And the idea of partnering with artists on products featuring their favorite flavors is not new, at least in the fast food world.

McDonald’s (MCD) has had success with its celebrity meals, versions of artists’ preferred orders that are available for a limited time. The burger chain has teamed up with Travis ScottBTS and Saweetie, among others. Burger King has followed with its own celebrity deals.

For Coca-Cola, this is the first time a beverage has been created with an artist, the company said.

Source: CNN

Russia’s Rebranded McDonald’s Restaurants (Vkusno i tochka) Scribble Out Golden Arches On Sauce Packets

Russia’s McDonald’s restaurants reopened Sunday with a new name, logo, and menu, but the same sauce packets.

Staff at the rebranded fast-food chain scribbled out the McDonald’s logo on sauce packets with black pen, Reuters reported, with an image from the Agence France-Presse seemingly confirming this.

Vkusno & tochka, which Reuters translated as “tasty and that’s it,” opened 15 stores in and around Moscow on Sunday, including what was formerly McDonald’s flagship Russian restaurant in the city’s Pushkin Square.

Alexander Govor, a Russian businessperson, bought Russia’s McDonald’s restaurants after the burger giant said that continued ownership was “no longer tenable, nor is it consistent with McDonald’s values” following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The hurried rebranding shows how Govor has tried to strike a balance between operating restaurants that will satisfy customers as a substitute for McDonald’s and not violating the company’s trademarks.

“We don’t have the right to use some colors, we don’t have the right to use the golden arches, we don’t have the right to use any mention of McDonald’s,” Govor told Reuters.

The huge lines of people waiting to get burgers in the days before Russian McDonald’s restaurants closed and the hefty price tags for its products on classified-ads sites showed the scale of its bulging Russian market. By clinging on to aspects of McDonald’s menu, branding, and store design, whenever possible, Vkusno & tochka can try win over loyal customers.

The famous golden arches have been scrapped, and Vkusno & tochka has a new logo made up of just one dot and two lines — or a burger and two fries — which appear in the shape of a large “M.”

Oleg Paroev, who was named as the CEO of McDonald’s Russia in February, and who has continued his role as CEO of Vkusno & tochka, said the restaurant interiors would remain the same but all traces of the McDonald’s name would be removed, Reuters reported.

Reuters reported that the chain largely used plain white packaging for fries and burgers, plain white drink cups, and plain brown paper takeaway bags. This is also evident in some of the photos of products on Vkusno & tochka’s website.

Though some dishes look familiar, Vkusno & tochka has no plans to sell Big Macs and McFlurrys.

“These names, these brands, their appearance and production technology” are too directly related to McDonald’s, Paroev said, according to The Journal.

Source: Business Insider

Dior Sauvage Cologne, Fronted By Johnny Depp, Shot Up In Demand During Defamation Trial

The demand for Johnny Depp’s Sauvage fragrance has skyrocketed during his trial with Amber Heard, it has been found.

The world has watched on as the former couple took to the stand to discuss their relationship, with the case being held at Fairfax County Courthouse and streamed live on YouTube.

As the jury continue their deliberations, it has been revealed that search for the Dior’s Sauvage – which the Pirates of the Caribbean actor is currently the face of – has soared during the proceedings.

New research found that demand has exploded by almost 50% in just a month, while the trial has been taking place.

According to the findings, carried out by Hey Discount, Google searches increased for the fragrance by a whopping 48%, from 823,000 searches in March to 1.2million in April – when the proceedings began.

They revealed that TikTok views for Sauvage also leapt up by 63% in that same time frame, with the platform becoming overwhelmed by videos regarding the trial.

It was recently named the second most popular fragrance in the world, pipped to the post by Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Baccarat Rouge 540.

Depp is currently suing his ex-wife for defamation and seeking $50million in damages, over her op-ed in the Washington Post.

In the 2018 article, she described her experience with domestic abuse but did not name him in the piece – despite this, his team argued that it implied he was physically abusive during the course of their relationship, something he has fiercely denied.

The Edward Scissorhands actor has taken to the stand in the proceedings, insisting that he has ‘never struck a woman’ in his life.

He also claimed that Heard attacked him on their honeymoon, in 2015, and branded her abuse allegations against him as ‘heinous’.

The Aquaman actress has launched a countersuit against her ex, for $100million, saying that he libeled her by calling her a liar.

She broke down in tears during her testimony, telling the court that she feared for her life and that he penetrated her with a glass bottle during a row.

‘I am harassed, humiliated, threatened, every single day. Even just walking into this courtroom,’ she said of the impact of the trial. ‘Sitting here in front of the world, having the worst parts of my life, things that I have lived through, used to humiliate me.

‘I receive hundreds of death threats regularly, if not daily. Thousands since this trial started.’

‘This is horrible. This is painful. And this is humiliating for any human being to go through.

‘Perhaps it’s easy to forget that I am a human being,’ she added. ‘It has been agonizing, painful, and the most humiliating thing I have ever had to go through.

‘I just want Johnny to leave me alone. I just want him to leave me alone. I’ve said that for years now.’

Source: Metro

What Really Made Coca-Cola Discontinue Honest Tea—And What It Means For Mission-Driven Brands

Honest Tea founder Seth Goldman described it as a “gut punch.” This week, the Coca-Cola Co. announced it is killing the brand he created back in 1998. 

That’s quite a twist in a story that had long seemed like a case study in how a mission-driven brand built around ethical principles—organic ingredients, Fair Trade Certified partners—could capture a changing consumer zeitgeist, connect with an audience, and go big.

Instead, the brand will be “phased out” of the Coca-Cola Co.’s beverage portfolio at the end of 2022. (It’s keeping a spin-off line of organic juice products called Honest Kids.)

Since selling Honest Tea in a multimillion-dollar deal, Goldman has moved on to help found ethical-food startups Eat the Change and PLNT Burger, and serve as the chair of Beyond Meat’s board. He took to LinkedIn to pay tribute to “the sweat, tears, and incredible passion that went into building our beloved brand.”

Perhaps Honest Tea will still live on as a case study: How an apparently successful mission-driven brand can beat the odds, transcend its niche, find a backer who believes in it, make the transition to the mainstream—and still end up dying. 

Coca-Cola assumed full ownership eventually. Goldman stayed involved, and Honest Tea remained in its Bethesda, Maryland, home base. The product itself was never watered down, and as late as 2018 Goldman still saw it as poised for “global growth.” Sales had reportedly risen from $71 million in 2010 to around $600 million. 

But the brand’s momentum had slowed. Sales in the first half of 2019 declined 16%, according to Beverage Digest, in the midst of a wider decline in ready-to-drink tea sales.

The market had gotten far more competitive, and shelves were crowded with functional beverages, cold brew coffees, and antioxidant waters. The consumer zeitgeist that helped propel Honest Tea’s success had shifted. At the end of that year, Goldman left the company to pursue new ventures; Honest Tea’s offices were moved to Atlanta. 

Coke, meanwhile, appeared to lose enthusiasm for niche-ier brands in general, according to a 2021 Business Insider report. And in its announcement this week, the company explained the move as a straightforward consolidation of its tea strategy, sacrificing Honest Tea to focus on two more successful lines.

Those two would be Gold Peak, a virtuous-looking bottled tea brand that Coke has backed with nationwide marketing, and Peace Tea, a growing regional offering that has “a loyal, Gen Z following.” Neither hits the various mission-y notes that defined the Honest brand. 

Honest Tea’s identity, in contrast, seemed less flexible or expansive. And that was fine when the consumer mood was moving in its direction—but feels more limiting now. A sincere mission can help a brand break through to a solid, loyal audience of consumers. But put that mission-centric brand in the middle of a mass-oriented owner’s sprawling portfolio, and that same identity can become a constraint.

Honest Tea really did carve out an authentic, specific space in the consumer landscape: It truly stood for something. And that, in the end, was its downfall.

Source: Fast Company

Heinz Partners With Pulpex To Develop The First Paper Ketchup Bottle

To the casual observer, it would seem that there isn’t much room to innovate when it comes to ketchup. Tomato ketchup, sometimes called catsup, has been around since the early 1800s, with previous versions of the sauce using everything from mushrooms to fish. By 1876, Heinz got into the catsup game and continues to innovate on the condiment, recently developing a way to grow tomatoes and make the pantry staple on Mars.

However, Heinz’s latest ketchup development is less celestial and aims to address a very Earthly problem—plastic pollution. The firm has announced a partnership with sustainable packaging technology firm Pulpex to develop the first molded paper bottle in the sauce category.

Pulpex and Heinz expect the paper bottles made from sustainably sourced wood fiber to be “widely and readily recyclable” in paper waste streams. It remains unclear whether the bottle will be completely plastic-free. When asked by Dieline if the paper bottles would be plastic-free, Heinz responded by saying the paper bottle would be free from PET, HDPE, and BPA. Heinz also did not rule out using polypropylene for components such as the cap and described the inside coating as being “food grade.”

“Packaging waste is an industry-wide challenge that we must all do our part to address,” Kraft Heinz CEO Miguel Patricio said in a press release. “That is why we are committed to taking steps to explore sustainable packaging solutions across our brands at Kraft Heinz, offering consumers more choices. This new Heinz bottle is one example of how we are applying creativity and innovation to explore new ways to provide consumers with the products they know and love while also thinking sustainably.”

The new bottles are in the early prototyping stage, and Heinz has no consumer launch date yet.

Source: The Dieline

Skittles Commissions LGBTQ+ Artists To Design Its Pride Packaging For 2022

Pride Month is just weeks away, and you can almost taste it—the rainbow, that is. As an annual tradition, Skittles rolls out special packaging with subdued designs during this time of year in support of LGBTQ+ acceptance.

Normally, Skittles’ Pride wrappers are all-gray, and you might wonder why this is so. Why couldn’t the brand leave the rainbow behind? Why couldn’t it have more pops of rainbow hues? That’s because, each June, the brand gives up its colors for the rainbow Pride flag. Further, as Skittles explains, the gray signifies “the brand’s cemented efforts of support.”

Surprisingly, this year’s packaging has a little more vibrancy, as Skittles is allowing “a splash of color” for a snapshot of how LGBTQ+ individuals “see the rainbow.” To create the wrappers, Skittles enlisted six artists from the Pride community to depict what the rainbow means to them.

2022’s edition brings five Pride-themed designs by Chi NwosuMeg LeeMia SaineAsh + Chess, and Kah Yangni. As usual, the special-edition packs are being launched in conjunction with GLAAD, a nonprofit promoting positive representation for the community in the media.

Representation is right. Each design is printed with a QR code that, when scanned, directs customers to a virtual studio introducing the collaborators and their work.

The Pride packs will be available in 4oz and 15.6oz sharing sizes at select retailers across the country through June. For each purchase of a special-edition pack, Skittles will donate US$1, or up to US$100,000, to support GLAAD’s work in ending LGBTQ+ discrimination.

Source: DesignTAXI