Coca-Cola is abandoning the "splash graphic" design it introduced two years ago and returning to the familiar Coke ribbons for a look on cans and bottles that is traditional but updated, the company has announced.
The intertwined white and yellow ribbons run underneath the familiar "Coca-Cola" script, with a trail of bubbles in the background. The new packaging will appear on products in 2003.
"It's a significant change because it cleans up substantially the look of the cans and of the labels," said John Sicher, editor of Beverage Digest, an industry publication.
The brand will retain familiar elements of the Coca-Cola brand name including the typeface, the red colour and a new presentation of the contour bottle. In the United States, the word "classic" will continue to appear on all packaging for brand Coca-Cola.
The current design for cans and labels show the neck of a contour bottle, with the bottle cap popped off and soda fizzing out. In the US and other English language markets, the bottle cap display line reads: "Enjoy Coca-Cola Classic."
"The design was not as clean as it could have been and didn't let the eye see the Coke name and trademark as clearly," Sicher said.
The design change is meant to update Coke's look and draw renewed attention to a brand whose international sales have fizzled in the last couple of years.
Coke grew globally during most of the 1990s, but last year Coke's volume dropped on a worldwide basis. However, for the first six months of 2002, the brand was up about 2 per cent worldwide.
"I wouldn't consider this reactive," said Kelly Brooks, a spokesman for Coke. "Other initiatives are ongoing and will be considered but we are not going to put a timeline on it."
When the design changes are completed, Coke will have a unified look for its three brother brands - Coke Classic, Vanilla Coke and Cherry Coke - which got a new design earlier this year.
"I think companies like Coke change graphics on the big brands relatively infrequently but this was needed for this brand and is a big improvement," Sicher said.
Earlier this year, Pepsi introduced a new version of its Diet Pepsi can, in light blue.