Posted by: nickgerlich | September 7, 2007

Blak Eye

Goodbye, Coca Cola Blak. We hardly knew ye.

Coca Cola BlakIn this era of immediate gratification and instant return on investment, a new product cannot sit and gather dust for very long before its maker pulls the plug. And so on 31 August, Bevnet reported the premature death of Blak. Barely registering a heartbeat since its introduction, Blak has been one of the bigger mistakes from Coke in a long time. A combination of Coca Cola and coffee flavoring, Blak failed to capture the tastebuds (and imagination) of a population thirsty for something different.

Not that Pepsi never went down this road, for it was about 10 years ago that they tested the market with Kona Pepsi. It hit earth with a thud as well. Too bad Coke did not pay attention.

Apparently Coke tried to see the world through Starbucks eyes, assuming that since coffee is selling quite nicely at $2-4 per cup, surely people would be willing to shell out a couple of bucks for a small bottle of coffee cola.

Think again, caffeine breath.

While Blak was targeted at sophisticated over-30 customers, Coke thinks the price may have been a turn-off. But I think not. It was the taste, quite simply. It was horrible. I am definitely over 30 and can afford the indulgence (you can debate whether I am sophisticated or not), but if something does not taste good, a repeat customer I will not be.

It only took 16 months for Blak to go belly-up. These days, if a new product does not have legs, it has little or no chance of making it. It must hit the shelves running, and running fast at that.

Like I said in April 2006 when the product debuted, if I want coffee, I will get one, and if I want a Coke, that is what I will order. But please don’t think that what worked for the Reese’s Cup will necessarily work for soft drinks.

Dr “Coffee Black, Please, But Hold The Coke” Gerlich


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