Bring back red cans, Coke purists say

Bring back red cans, Coke purists say

December 6th, 2011 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

These images, provided by Coca-Cola Co., shows the company's limited-edition red can and the limited-edition white can. The white can has drawn complaints from some Coke drinkers because it's a similar color to Diet Coke cans.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

POLL: What do you prefer?

Neither Tish nor Wes Powell of Chattanooga like the white cans that Coca-Cola Co. turned to this fall as part of a campaign to protect polar bears and their habitat.

"It's better than Pepsi" was the best Wes Powell could say about the cans as he picked up a case at the Signal Mountain Road Walmart on Monday.

The Powells aren't alone, and Coke has heard their complaints. The Atlanta-based company said it's bringing back its red holiday cans.

Some people complained the new cans were too similar to Diet Coke's silver cans. Others thought the soda inside tasted different and went online to complain.

Gary Davis, vice president of the Chattanooga Coca-Cola Bottling Co., said plans always were to revert back to the red cans.

Davis, who said the local Coke operation cans 14 million cases of soft drink annually, added that there may be one more run of white cans left at the Chattanooga bottling plant, if that much.

"Going to the white can was temporary to start with," he said.

The company said it's not pulling the white cans from the market, just adding red cans to the mix in response to consumer requests. More than 1 billion white cans are already on the market and will remain until they sell.

Still, Karrie Drew of Rossville said the white can reminded her too much of Diet Coke.

"They ought to leave things the way they are," she said.

Davis said there are Coke purists in the marketplace, and he's one of them.

"Don't mess with things too much," he said the purists say.

Coca-Cola said its formula has not changed, and it has heard from many consumers who like the white cans.

It was the first time Coca-Cola had changed the color of its cans, and it hoped the striking departure would draw attention to its work with the World Wildlife Fund to protect the bears.

Coca-Cola has included polar bears in its advertising for several years. It said it has donated $1 million to the fund for polar bear habitat conservation over the last four years.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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