Diet Coke is removing the labels from its cans to get Americans to talk about theirs.
Originally, a limited-edition run of label-less Diet Coke cans was launched over June at events such as Essence Fest, Girlboss Rally, the National Urban League’s annual conference and Pride parades in Los Angeles, New York City and San Diego. (Of course, the campaign by Anomaly also helped to promote Diet Coke’s six new flavours, launched late last year.) The brand is now considering putting them into stores. The cans are not entirely unbranded. There is a very small Diet Coke logo near the ingredient label and at the very bottom of the can. Facing the front, though, what is visible are each can’s different strip of colour, representing the diversity of people throughout the world.
Behind these conversation starters is a series of videos – the personal stories of a diverse range of Americans that explore labels and what they mean to different people – and a hub at dietcoke.com/unlabeled which provides resources that inform people and help to start conversations about difference. Diet Coke has given itself a difficult task – sending a complex message. After consulting with its partner organisations, including GLADD, the American Association of People with Disabilities, the National Urban League and the Hispanic Federation, and own employees, the point that the brand wants to make is that people can be hurt by labels but they can also become proud of them, when used in the proper context.
“Some labels can be good, they can be earned, they can be fought for, they can be something people are proud of. On the other hand, imposed labels are bad,” stated Kerri Kopp, group director, Diet Coke.
“There’s no one-size-fits-all perspective, but we believe that openly and honestly discussing labels – both positive and negative – can lead to a better understanding of others. The [unlabeled] platform is meant to facilitate a conversation across a variety of groups and mediums to explore the complexities of labels. By unpacking various labels, we hope to champion acceptance and create more meaningful connections.”
She added, “It also aligns with Diet Coke’s longstanding values and commitment to individuality.”
The brand has also pledged to use its resources, relationships and reach to create [unlabeled] safe spaces where people are free to be themselves and it is beginning by using its own assets. Diet Coke is dedicating high-profile real estate it owns in New York City to “a diverse group of [unlabeled] voices and faces who are living their lives with unbridled confidence,” the brand stated.
It has joined forces with a number of partner organisations, allowing their representatives to curate honest conversations about labels on its social channels and share their own #unlabeled stories.
“As part of our brand recast, we set out to recruit the next generation of Diet Coke drinkers, including millennials and Gen We,” Danielle Henry, group director, integrated content, Diet Coke, commented.
“These generations expect brands to reflect their core values take a stand on issues that matter to them. Having a credible and relevant personality and point of view is now the cost of entry. With [unlabeled], we’re seizing a unique and powerful opportunity to use the Diet Coke voice for good and to show our fans that we see – and celebrate – them.”
The diversity campaign is expected to last for several years and will run simultaneously with Diet Coke’s core brand campaign, because I can.