- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 31, 2009

ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK | Neither “New” nor “Classic,” Coke is simply itself again.

Two decades after adding the designation, the Coca-Cola Co. is removing the word “Classic” from its prominent location on the flagship cola sold in the U.S., a company spokesman said Friday.

“The reason for being, for classic as a descriptor, has all but disappeared,” spokesman Scott Williamson said.

The “Classic” tagline — right under the script Coca-Cola logo — was added in 1985, when the company introduced a formula that consumers called “New Coke.” New Coke never caught on and was sold sparingly until it was dropped in 2004.

Coke Classic is the leading soda brand in the world. About 1.7 billion cases of Coke Classic were sold in the U.S. in 2007, according to Beverage Digest. The trade journal reported the removal of the “classic” name earlier Friday.

Mr. Williamson said Coca-Cola decided to make the change as it launches a new global marketing campaign it’s calling “Open Happiness.” He said it was not an appeal to younger consumers, although the company has said before it wants to appeal to younger drinkers as soda sales decline in the U.S.

“Taking it off will modestly contemporize the brand because, to some people, classic doesn’t sound youthful and contemporary,” Beverage Digest Editor John Sicher said.

While “Classic” is coming off the logo, the word will not disappear completely from Coca-Cola packaging. It will still use the phrase “Coke Classic original formula” in a less prominent place.

The change will show up nationwide during the first part of this year.

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