Coca-Cola's Dasani Marketing Blunder In The Uk
Coca-Cola is one of the most prolific companies in the world. Over the course of its history, it’s had its own share of marketing blunders. Coca-Cola has a plethora of brands in its portfolio such as Powerade, Minutemaid, and Dasani.
Dasani was a huge hit in the US in 2003. Everything was going great for their water bottle business and there was a rising demand in the UK. Coca-Cola decided to expand the Dasani brand into the U.K
When Coca-Cola launched Dasani, the first thing they did wrong was they didn’t do enough research on the British palette. The Brits prefer naturally sourced water over tap as 91% of the bottled water in the UK was naturally sourced.
Dasani’s product was filtered water with other ingredients to give it that distinct taste. The other issue was it was also expensive. To produce water, it only costs 0.03p per half a litre. The head scratching part was when it hit the shelves it got marked to the price of a 95p per half a litre.
Things got worse when Coca-Cola launched their online marketing campaign and advertised the Dasani brand of water as “full of spunk.” To give you some context, “spunk” is a UK slang term for semen.
When Brits saw the Coca-Cola marketing, all they could think about was how their bottles of water were full of semen (lol). To add the cherry on top, the models in the ads were dumping water in their faces rather than drinking the bottle normally. This whole thing sounds like a comedy skit.
They also discovered that Dasani was filled with twice the legal amount of a substance that can cause cancer called bromate. It turned out the final stages of the purification process was the cause of this. The ozone used to sterilize the water reacted with bromide which naturally occurs in tap water. This resulted in over half a million of Dasani bottles to be recalled.
All the factors of the marked up prices, its purification process, and it having a substance that can cause cancer resulted in Coca-Cola being withdrawn out of the UK.
A decade later, Coca-Cola came back stronger. They learned from their mistakes and launched a new brand called ‘Glaceau Smartwater.’ The Glaceau brand was sourced from spring water, better marketing tactics were used and it became a success in the UK.
Lessoned Learned: Always do your due diligence when you’re launching in another region which has different customs and culture.