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Coca-Cola confesses and remedies its Schweppes labelling blunder

In a savvy bit of social media marketing, drinks brand Schweppes has lampooned itself in a Twitter advert after months of complaints from consumers who hated a new bottle branding change that created confusion when buying soda and tonic water.

Schweppes now admits that was “not our brightest moment”.

From the senior brand manager, Mukundi Munzhelele, who came up with the bright idea, to marketing manager, Nerisha Maharajh, who signed off on it, various staffers took it on the chin and lampooned themselves for the mistake in the social media ad.

“The complaints we received were passionate and heartfelt,” Munzhelele says. “It was only fair to them (customers) that the actual people who worked on the campaign not only see the responses, but respond in a manner that was fitting.”

According to Munzhelele, the team wanted to modernise the labels. But a change in colour caused a lot of confusion.

Schweppes changed the colour of its soda water branding on its bottles to grey, which made it look like its tonic water labels. It has now changed the labels – tonic water is yellow, and soda water has a stripe of grey.

“We took some time to look at our packaging with the feedback received from consumers and decided not to simply revert to the previous design,” says Munzhelele.

The response sat well with many consumers who applauded the brand for taking responsibility, such as this one.