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Another Coca-Cola packaging blunder in the wake of Schweppes’ mea culpa?

Coca-Cola SA’s recent public apology for the soda-tonic labelling blunder on its Schweppes range of mixers has been hailed by marketing analysts… BUT, the company now stands accused of a similar gaffe with other brands that could have some dangerous consequences.

Angry consumers have taken the company to task on social media about its new packaging for Coke, Stoney and Sprite where its hard to distinguish the difference between regular and sugar-free variants.

But where the soda-water confusion was just irritating, a mix-up in these other Coca-Cola brands could be deadly for diabetics.

There’s been no public word as yet on this issue from the company.

Meanwhile consumer journalist/bloggist, Megan Power, has some good insights on these two stories here in her “Power Report”….

An interesting thing about the recent Schweppes soda-water ‘apology’ is that nowhere in the actual 1 minute 16-second video posted on social media does the word “sorry” appear. But it doesn’t matter. What Schweppes has successfully done — something many brands find so hard to do — is own up to its blunder publicly and fix it. Customers loved it….

But the Schweppes mea culpa shouldn’t be seen as a clever piece of spin that’s earned the brand and its agency some temporary kudos. It goes further than that. The more a brand successfully navigates the little bumps on the road, the more prepared it is to cope with the big crises when they happen, and the more receptive and understanding its customer base becomes.

Slip-ups, if managed well, present opportunities to strengthen trust, credibility and goodwill with customers, and should be embraced. It’s the regular deposits into the goodwill bank that pay off when something much bigger breaks.

Another win is that when businesses do right by their customers, they set precedent which raises the bar for all future customer engagements. In Schweppes’ case, Coca-Cola (which owns the brand) will now be held to a higher standard across all its brands.

Deadly for diabetics

It’s already happening to Coke. As with the soda-tonic fiasco, Coke’s new packaging for regular Coke and its sugar-free variants are just as indistinguishable, and causing much upset. But where the soda-water confusion was just irritating, a mix-up in Coke brands for diabetics could be deadly.

Consumers, who have already taken to social media to protest and warn Coke of dire consequences if diabetics suffer, expect the brand to take stock — and action. Just like it did in the Schweppes situation. Except, this time, they’ll want a bit more urgency.

Companies shouldn’t think they’re able to pick and choose which complaints they’ll entertain, and when. And certainly not a company which has just spent time and money owning up in a very public way to a fairly innocuous issue….

The Power Report: Read the full article here

Related reading:

Coca-Cola confesses and remedies its Schweppes labelling blunder


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