When it comes to brands with staying power, Coca-Cola has got to be one of the most consistently popular products ever launched. Even now, in these increasingly wellness-conscious times when regular soda consumption is considered a bad habit, people still drink Coke: It's just part of our national DNA. Of course, all of this is true only of the original Coca-Cola flavor (and the diet versions of that one flavor). Historically speaking, people get weird when Coke tries to put a new spin on the classic. So what will they think of Orange Vanilla Coke?
On Friday, the company announced the impending debut of the first new Coca-Cola flavor in over a decade (!): Orange Vanilla Coke, according to Business Insider. How did they settle on this Creamsicle-inspired creation? Whether you think it sounds brilliant or bizarre, it definitely wasn't a random choice. As Coca-Cola trademark brand director Kate Carpenter told Business Insider, the company started exploring the idea of adding "new flavors of its classic cola" following the introduction of Coke Zero Sugar in the U.S. around a year ago.
"We had not touched our flavors from an innovation standpoint point — or really a messaging or marketing standpoint — for a really long time," said Carpenter.
Even so, the company's "flavor portfolio" was growing, meaning that retail sales of flavored Coca-Cola beverages "grew 2 percent through the third quarter without substantial marketing." In other words, even though the Coke people weren't pushing their flavored options, they were getting more popular. Plus, four new diet flavors (including Twisted Mango) gave sales a boost, even if not everyone loved them.
After a successful test launch in Canada, Orange Vanilla was named the official new flavor. People liked the "unexpected familiarity" of the drink, apparently, which insiders say was picked based on data derived from Coke Freestyle machines (you know, those self-serve soda machines with the touch screens where you can add flavors to your drink). As Investopedia explained, when customers pick their flavor, the machines store that data, which helps the company to figure out what people want the most. That's why Coca-Cola is also coming out with Sprite Cherry (and Sprite Cherry Zero): The people have spoken, and data seems to suggest they asked for cherry in their Sprite and orange in their Coke. Who knew?
The funny thing is, for a flavor that was chosen based on the court of public opinion, the public isn't entirely enthused about Orange Vanilla Coke, if Twitter is any indication. Some people are straight-up opposed...
While others are like, "Could be gross, but it's sorta like what I always get at the Coke machine. Yo, how'd they know?"
Still others are like... okay, yeah. Bring it.
I'm no expert, but it seems to me like a fairly accurate predictor of whether or not you'll be into this new Coke would be to ask yourself the following questions: Do you like Creamsicles? If the answer is no, then just stop here. If the answer is yes, ask yourself this: Would you like a Creamsicle float (Coke with orange sherbet and vanilla ice cream)? If the answer is no, I feel like this is probably not fated to be your cup of tea. Or can of soda, whatever. If the answer is yes, on the other hand, you just might be one of the exact people Coca-Cola is trying to please. So you might as well at least give Orange Vanilla Coke (or Orange Vanilla Coke Zero Sugar) a try, except not yet, because it won't be available across the United States until later in February.