DRINKING BY NUMBERS
We’ve had Coke Zero, One Cal and G2. Now Vitaminwater 10 and Trop 50. But do consumers really want to drink by numbers ? Well, they still have to be satisfied by image and taste as well as price and convenience. But calories have been the most important single barrier to consumer preference in the history of soft drinks. Hence diet and light, aspartame and sucralose. Some diet variants even outsell their regular forebears. The trouble with numbers is that they’re not personal in a world where consumers wish to be treated as individuals. By emphasizing the benefits of the lighter version, they draw attention to the drawbacks of a heavier heritage. Yet numbers are at least specific. They answer a particular concern. They give permission. What you see is what you get. Some will work and some won’t. But life will undoubtedly become more complicated, because calories are not the only feature that counts. There’s been Diet Coke Plus which consumers gave a minus. Omega-3 has not always added up. And 6 Hour Power has a seven hour rival. Will we see a caffeine 230 or a calcium 500 ? I think I prefer 100% natural, but even that’s under threat.