How to Fix Coca-Cola

What to do when a brand goes flat.


How has Coke fizzled? Let’s count the ways. The soft drink behemoth’s profits are flat. It hasn’t produced a successful new soda brand since Diet Coke in 1982, or memorable ads since its “Real Thing” campaign 35 years ago. Coke must connect its powerful brand and rich history with today’s customers. How? Here’s advice from three experts with pop.


Al Ries

Chairman of Ries & Ries Consulting

“Coke should return to the essence of their brand, which is the Real Thing. That’s what is in people’s minds. What are the three rules of advertising? Repetition, repetition, repetition. Use what’s already in the minds of the consumers, which is they want to drink the real thing and not an imitation.”

Tom Pirko

President of BevMark LLC, consultants

“They need to go into a major renovation and invest in a big way in creating new icons or new brands. People have to get excited again about Coke brands. There’s a struggle for the soul of the company: stay as an old company, or be a new company that takes risks.”

Daniel Bernardis

16-year-old high school student

“It tastes pretty good, but they should make the can and bottle bigger. You pay a lot for barely anything to drink.” To learn how Fast Company readers would fix other brands and businesses, go to