The recent rerelease of Coca-Cola’s Surge demonstrates a successful case of brand building. Surge is a citrus flavored soda released by Coca-Cola in the late 90’s. When it was first launched, Coca-Cola invested $50 million for the marketing campaign in an effort to compete with PepsiCo’s Mountain Dew, the product category leader. The product line was targeted towards males from 12 to 24. However, in 2002, the line was discontinued.
Though Surge wasn’t able to break Mountain Dew’s foothold, it definitely succeeded in branding itself. When the product was discontinued, fans of the product initiated various campaigns to get Coca-Cola to put Surge back on the market. “It’s so much more than just a soda for many of us…it was the glue I would say of everything we did,” describes Evan Carr, one of Surge’s loyal customers. Surge is no longer a product that simply fulfills consumers’ thirst; it encompasses meaning and values for the consumers. According to Laurence Vincent (2012), author of Brand Real: “Brands provide symbolic cues that influence your expectations and behavior because they are linked to relevant benefits that you value” (p. 12). Coca-Cola was successful because Surge connected with the consumers’ emotions, creating a brand loyalty that is extremely valuable for brands today. The customers feel so attached that they want to take actions to bring back the product. In an effort to measure “what consumers feel for brands or which emotions truly influence brand decisions,” APCO Insight identified 8 emotions that are fundamental to effective brand communication: Curiosity, pride, admiration, empowerment, relevance, approachability, identification, and understanding. In 2013, Coca-Cola was ranked #14 on The 100 Most Loved Companies in APCO Insight’s Emotional Linking research.
APCO Insight.APCO insight : Methodologies : Emotional linking. Retrieved from http://apcoinsight.com/methodologies/tools/emotional_linking.aspx#.VCaHGb6RPzI
Suddath, C. (2014, September 15). How a facebook group persuaded coca-cola to rerelease surge. Bloombergbusinessweek
Vincent, L. (2012). Brand real: How smart companies live their brand promise and inspire fierce customer loyalty. United States: AMACOM.