Coca-Cola recently announced that they would be getting into the milk business. Seems a little out of the blue for the world’s top soft drink company to be selling milk. Like some of Coke’s other branded products like Powerade, Minute Maid or Dasani water, their milk will not have the traditional Coca-Cola labeling. The product will be known as Fairlife.
Unlike the soft drink industry, the milk market remains highly fragmented with very few recognizable brand names. In fact, store-brand milk makes up one third of all milk sales. Coca-Cola is here to change that by trying to create the “Coke” of milk. This whole idea of Coke making milk is a little baffling, and the way they are marketing it is even more bizarre.
Consumers were not impressed by the hypersexualized images, above, that Coke released as part of the launch campaign for Fairlife. The images of pin-up girls dressed in nothing but milk is a bold way to break out into a new market, to say the least.
But, is this a case of “all publicity is good publicity”? At least people are talking about it.
The new ads have stirred up conversation, not only about the ads themselves or the product, but also about sexism and the objectification of women.
After facing extreme backlash, Coca-Cola ended up pulling their risky milk campaign. On Monday, Fairlife released a statement claiming the ads with women were only part of a “test market campaign” and had been retired after running in June, when they ran in the Denver and Minneapolis markets. The brand states that it plans to use a completely different marketing strategy, including new packaging, for it’s nationwide rollout next year.
Was this all a tactic to rapidly increase brand awareness of Coke’s new product? Or was this a true marketing fail?