Sprite Zero Blue Can

by Craig Johnson    February 8, 2012

This past week I picked up Sprite Zero from the grocery store and was surprised to find it was a blue can.

This is the Sprite Zero can I’m used to and the one that I found on the Sprite product page on the Coca-Cola Company website.

And this is the photo I took of the can I bought at the store.

I was surprised that I can’t find anything about this online.  Maybe they are testing this in the Atlanta market for now, not sure.  Regardless, I think there is a lot to learn from this move.  Color strategy is a key component of brand identity development.  Color for a brand is used to communicate emotions as well as solidify a brand position with comfortable distance from the competition.

This is a very smart move for the Sprite Zero. When Coke Zero moved from a white can to a black can, it proved that moving to a stronger, more masculine color can produce wonderful results for a diet drink targeted towards men (emotional use of color).  Also, there isn’t any diet soda that uses a color close to that blue, which strengthens the brand position (positioning use of color).  As we look further into this, it gets more interesting as we think about Diet Coke’s brand position.  Diet Coke has long used silver as its main brand color, and with Sprite Zero moving away from that silver, it further solidifies Diet Coke’s ownership of its color.

Think about a tub full of ice at a party and inside that tub is scattered about 12 packs of Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Coke, Sprite and Sprite Zero.  As you look down into it and get ready to grab a drink,  you can’t see any specifics, you only see color.  Before this change there would’ve been a good chance you would mistake Diet Coke for Sprite Zero and vice versa.  But now they each have their very own clear color.  You will clearly see the colors silver, black, red, green and blue.  Brilliant!

Kudos to the folks at Coca-Cola who were behind this.  You continue to make me proud to be a life-long Atlantan.

19 thoughts on “Sprite Zero Blue Can”

  1. I am out in California and we have the blue cans as well, so I don’t think it is just a test. It caught my eye in the store, I like the new look.

  2. They’re doing this in the Northeast, too.

    It’s interesting that you’re so in favor of this, almost for the same reason that I’m finding it so infuriating — it’s nearly impossible to tell the Sprite and Sprite Zero cans apart now!

    I depend on visual cues to distinguish between diet and non-diet sodas. IMHO, the regular Sprite and Sprite Zero cans are now too much alike to be told apart at a glance. In contrast, it’s super-easy to tell regular coke (red) from Coke Zero (black).

    I’ve never been so infuriated by a packaging/branding decision before!

  3. Same here on the Bud Light appearance – I thought my wife had brought me home a treat. I teach marketing and I wanted to use this in class to discuss appearance etc but can not find much about it on line. My wife said she had a hard time finding it on the shelves. I would think Sprite would have done a campaign to make consumers aware.

  4. I hate the new can. It does look like a budlight or miler lite. I am a recovering alcoholic and this sucks!
    I wil not buy this product anymore because of it

  5. I agree that this looks like a beer can, and I predict there will be complaints from parents groups and others about the similarity.

  6. I don’t care what color the can is, however, when we bought the Sprite Zero in the Blue Can, it did not taste the same. It tasted like a flat ginger ale. Now, I can no longer find the Sprite Zero in the Silver Can. I guess I will change brands, the taste was excellent. Why did you have to change that too????

  7. I do not particularly like the new can either. It seems dirty somehow. And I agree that it does not taste quite the same Sarah – have you tried diet sierra mist?

  8. Sarah and I agree, they changed something in their formula, my wife and I loved the taste when the can was silver but the stuff in the blue can left us blue! We hope CC will go back to the original formula whether or not they change the color of their packaging!

  9. I bought my first Sprite Zero–20 oz blue label…I had explosive diahrrea 20 minutes later with absolutely no warning. First time ever in my 46 yrs.

  10. The difference I found was in the Nutritional Facts box on the side of the can. Luckily, I had a 2 liter bottle with the silver Sprite Zero label and found the sodium content is 10 mg higher in the blue can. I am not happy about more Sodium, but like other comments above, I cannot find the silver can Sprite Zero anywhere.

    My first thought was the same as yours, as far as the marketing aspect of color strategy, however, when I found the slight difference in Sodium, it makes me wonder what other ingredients have been changed.

  11. This can will be pulled. It looks like a miller lite can from the side. Kids appear to be drinking beer while holding the new can. This will be a problem

  12. I also thought that the blue version tasted differently. Furthermore, I was concerned that onlookers would think I was pounding a Miller Lite, which I do not care for.

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