In April of 1985, in a misguided attempt to revitalise the brand, The Coca-Cola Company stunned millions by announcing their decision to change the formula of Coca-Cola. Almost as soon as "New Coke" was unveiled, the backlash began, and in fact the reaction was so negative that within three months the old formula had been reintroduced.
On hearing rumours of Coca-Cola's initial change of formula, the ecstatic CEO of PepsiCo, Roger Enrico, sensed a misstep and pounced. He sent the following celebratory letter to all staff. It was then displayed as a full-page ad in the New York Times.
(Source: The Real Coke, the Real Story; Image: Guardian.)
April 21, 1985
To all Pepsi Bottlers and
Pepsi-Cola Company personnel:
It gives me great pleasure to offer each of you my heartiest congratulations.
After 87 years of going at it eyeball to eyeball, the other guy just blinked.
Coca-Cola is withdrawing their products from the marketplace, and is reformulating brand Coke to be "more like Pepsi." Too bad Ripley's not around...he could have had a field day with this one.
There is no question the long-term market success of Pepsi has forced this move.
Everyone knows when something is right it doesn't need changing.
Maybe they finally realized what most of us have known for years: Pepsi tastes better than Coke.
Well, people in trouble tend to do desperate things...and we'll have to keep our eye on them.
But for now, I say victory is sweet, and we have earned a celebration. We're going to declare a holiday on Friday.
President, Chief Executive Officer