Home > Internet, Web Design > CPG Brand Colors – Why is Diet always so boring?

CPG Brand Colors – Why is Diet always so boring?

Head to the soda (pop, whatever) aisle of your local supermarket and take a look around. It makes for a fascinating study in branding, color trends, and CPG marketing in general.

Recently, I noticed something obvious, yet never really discussed. For each brand or flavor of soda, there is a distinct color, logo, and tone in design. With each brand’s diet flavor though every brand I could find did the exact same thing – took the normal style, and made it grey. They took out the color, desaturated the packaging, or just generally swapped neutral colors in for the bright bold colors the regular brands get. Some examples:

Comparison of regular and diet soda cans

Comparison of regular and diet soda cans

Is that really the best that millions of dollars ad budgets and legions of designers, art directors, marketing people, and brand managers can come up with? It gives you the distinct impression that the diet version will be a blander, less fun, less bold version of the regular. I understand you want to retain the value of the original, but surely there’s value in distinguishing the diet flavor as its own product, not simply to be a watered down, less interesting version of the regular?

Let’s see some originality here; there’s no rule (I’ve ever seen at least) that says diet soda has to look and feel just like regular soda. Give it a brand, give it its own personality! From my experience the consumer who regularly purchases diet soda may not even be interested in the regular version. Should they not be engaged and treated as well as the consumer interested in the regular equivalent?

  1. February 13, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    well .. you could make the argument that they are trying to convey the ‘less’ feel to the look can translates to that feeling of ‘less’ on the belly in the drinker’s sub-conscious

  2. February 13, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    Thanks Gregory, that’s a good thought. I would still argue that they could branch out and tackle that goal differently than their competitors, but it’s an interesting angle.

  3. February 17, 2009 at 11:21 pm

    If you look at beer, Miller Lite is a perfect example of a light beverage that has accomplished exactly what you’re saying from a brand standpoint. It has taken on its own personality, rather than simply piggybacking on the full-calorie version. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that the “Lite” logo for Miller Lite carries more cachet than the Miller logo on their full-calorie product.

  4. Sarah
    June 21, 2010 at 9:06 am

    It’s probably because watered down and flavorless is exactly what it is. It shouldn’t be portrayed as some independent product when it’s just the same one but slightly healthier. Honest advertising if you ask me.

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