New York CNN
Coca-Cola has launched a limited-edition flavor aimed at gamers, an increasingly popular demographic for mainstream food and drink brands.
Coca-Cola Ultimate is a new flavor created by Riot Games. Riot Games publishes online multi-player battle arena League of Legends. The limited edition Ultimate flavor will be in US and Canadian retail stores from June 12, in both regular and sugar-free varieties. It's only available in zero-sugar globally and will be rolled out this week.
Coca-Cola (KO), a few decades ago, trimmed its portfolio in order to concentrate on its core brands. This included Coke. Coca-Cola has had to do a lot of work to bring new customers into the category. Full-sugar soft drinks have been a sleepy drink for many years.
The abstract flavors are paired with digital experiences to create excitement among young consumers. They focus on music and games online.
Ultimate is aimed at gamers. The actual flavor of Coke's limited edition beverages will be kept under wraps, just like the majority.
Coca-Cola has also released a number of other wacky flavors through its Creations platform. These include Starlight (inspired by the stars), Dreamworld (supposed to taste like a dream) and Byte - a pixel-flavored drink. Coca-Cola also collaborated with Marshmello and Rosalia on limited-edition flavor.
Coca-Cola will not reveal what Ultimate's actual flavor is.
Oana Vlad said that Coca-Cola's senior director for global strategy, Oana, would never be able to answer the question in a way that was'straightforward.' She noted that 'They are mystery flavors'. They must always taste like Coca-Cola. "The flavor profile, as we put it, is always 85 to 90 percent Coke. Then, add that unexpected twist of 10 to 15 percent.
According to a statement released by the company announcing this product, Ultimate should give drinkers a taste of the 'experience points' that League of Legends gamers earn based on the amount of time they spend in the game.
James Quincey, CEO of Redburn, said at the Redburn CEO Conference in November that these flavors were not intended to be permanent. They're meant to build buzz for the company's main product.
He said, "They are more engaging and interesting, in a demonstrable way, than a flavour, like a Coke vanilla, or whatever." "Testing the limits... that is about engaging with consumers."
The marketing strategy of Coca-Cola seems to be successful. According to the company's report, Coca-Cola trademarks grew in all geographical regions during the first quarter. This was due to Gen Z consumers showing interest.
He said: 'If we were to look at the US, it is clear that growth in Coke's franchise isn't just driven by an increase in recruitment but also increased engagement and recruitment among Gen Z.
Flavors are a great way to reach out to people on the internet, in games, and more.
Limited-time offers have been paired up with virtual experiences. Starlight's can included a QR Code that gave customers access to an Ava Max holographic concert. Dreamworld drinkers were able to purchase virtual merchandise for their avatars.
Vlad said that the digital component of Creations was at its core.
Coca-Cola's platform is a move into music and games, which have long been fertile grounds for beverage companies.
Red Bull has long been involved in the world of esports. PepsiCo has created Mountain Dew Game Fuel specifically for gamers. In recent years, snack manufacturers have also been investing in gaming.
Riot's relationship with Coca-Cola goes beyond the limited-edition flavor. In March last year, the two companies announced that they would be partnering for a longer period of time. They had previously been partnered between 2014 and 2016.
Coca-Cola can now market to gamers more effectively with Creations.
Byte, a cola with a 'pixel' flavor, made its debut in Fortnite. Marshmello debuted his flavor on Loserfruit, a Twitch channel run by a gamer.
League of Legends is a natural connection for Ultimate. When players achieve certain game goals, they can earn Ultimate themed emotes. The QR code on the bottle leads people to a Ultimate Instagram filter.