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I've Figured Out Coke Zero
neuro comment 15 Comments

[Coke Zero 2l bottle]Coke Zero is here, and those who know me know I love anything Coca-Cola related. So a few weeks ago, just after it launched here in the UK, I bought a 500ml bottle of Coke Zero to try, along with a bottle of regular Coke, and left them both overnight in the fridge to chill — as you should all do with Coca-Cola.

The next day I tried the Coke Zero … and was bewildered to find it tasted — at least to me — exactly like Diet Coke. Which I hate. With a passion. And this was meant to be Coke, without the sugar, except it tasted like Diet Coke with slightly less gallidium arsenide. And that’s when it dawned on me that there must be some greater purpose to this drink. It couldn’t simply be a new drink to sit alongside Diet Coke if it tasted the same, so what could it be?

[Cheryl Tweedy and a can of Coke Zero, yesterday]Of course, I hadn’t seen any of the new TV ads, nor had I seen press mentions of the drink, clearly showing Coca-Cola are targeting blokes my age with the drink. So what can this mean?

I think I’ve got it. It’s not just a brand to target a diet cola drink at 18-35 year old blokes, it’s a brand to target Diet Coke specifically at 18-35 year old blokes. They’ve realised that, for better or worse, Diet Coke is a girl’s drink. What man in his right mind would order a Bacardi and Diet Coke, for example? It’s interesting to note that Coca-Cola have also launched Coke Zero into the “licensed channel”, which means it can be served in pubs and clubs. “Yeah, a Bacardi and Coke Zero, mate, cheers”: could this be the new cry of diet-enlightened men across the UK?

God help us all.

  1. I beg to differ. To someone who drinks more than his fair share of Diet Coke (I had *SEVEN* pints of the stuff at the LRL2006 party, FFS) and having also sampled Coke Zero, in my opinion it tastes awful and nothing like Diet Coke whatsoever. It’s *almost* as bad a ‘proper’ Coke.

    OK, so I might be just on the point of leaving that target age group, but I drank plenty of it throughout that age range.

    Maybe this is because I don’t go to pubs (much) or clubs (at all).

    Who orders “Bacardi and *Diet* Coke”, anyway? Just B&C, usually, no?

    Yours faithfully,

    Girly Diet Coke Drinker of 20 Years or so,


  2. Now I’ve not tasted the stuff (frankly, the great taste of Coke [sic] leaves me cold – always has done), but from the moment I saw the branding, it was always obviously a DietCokeAlikeForBlokes. And once you’re playing that branding game, the taste is somewhat irrelevant (New Coke aside of course) to all but a tiny percentage of the population.

  3. Gotta agree with Neuro here – the van that serves our office with various nutritional delicacies rarely has Diet Coke so I tried a Coke Zero when it appeared….. and wasn’t surprised in the slightest to discover it’s the same thing. Didn’t catch on to the bloke/girlie thing but figured it was a Pepsi Max like marketing gimmick. Now it all makes sense 🙂

  4. No, coke zero initially tastes like flat regular coke, or like from a postmix machine that isn’t quite mixed right.

    Diet coke tastes nothing like it!

    Can you tell the difference between pepsi max and diet pepsi? Maybe you just have a pallet which just goes “I detect nutrasweet – run away!”

    I don’t like diet coke either, but I LOVE coke zero. After I got over the weirdness of “it tastes like flat coke, but it’s fizzy” I started drinking it a lot. Try it with a slice of orange or lemon and tons of ice?

    Anyway, we now have both in our fridge – Da Bloke likes diet coke but not zero, and I like Coke Zero but not diet…

    If they were very similar, we would surely either like or loathe them both!

  5. I can tell the difference between Diet Pepsi and Pepsi Max – normally I don’t like Pepsi but Max is tolerable to me for some reason.

    Anything with aspartame or phenylalanine in it tends to leave a metallic taste in my mouth; very strange.

  6. Pepsi Max is the true drink of men.

    Also, I find a strange blood/metallic/supersweet taste from Aspartame.

  7. Hmm just goes to show the difference in everyone’s specific tase experience. I have had to get used to Diet Coke cos of my girlfriend, but don’t really like it. If there’s an option I usually go for Diet Pepsi which is sweeter. But now I have big, brave Coke Zero which I first sampled in New York last year, and I have to say I really like it. Although, whenever you were able to get Coke Lite (as opposed to Diet Coke) the ‘european version’ I always liked that. And Zero is basically that. So it’s all a big con and we’re now being sold what French people have been drinking for years (girls and boys) except this one is like black and stuff…my head is spinning. Think it’s all the aspartame….

  8. I do not mind Zero diet coke so much but I favoured Vanilla Diet Coke which I am disappointed that they scrapped several weeks ago. I don’t like Pepsi Max let alone Pepsi which is okay.

    Please bring back the Vanilla Coke and Vanilla Diet Coke which I was addicted to.

  9. I find it hard to understand why there is so much negativity circling around Coke Zero, or how anyone could possibly say it tastes like Diet Coke. I used to drink ridiculous amounts of regular Coke (a liter or two a day) and finally decided to quit as the weight piled up. Coke Zero is the first diet cola I’ve ever tasted that has a taste very similar to the original product–regular Coke. Perhaps I’ve just been drinking diet too long, but I still like this stuff better than Diet Coke. I hope they don’t discontinue it!

  10. I also get a metallic flavour after taste after drinking zero coke, What ever the products that does this is the same product that is in Samboy salt and vinagar Chip (chrisps).As I get the same effect.

  11. Things must be very different across the pond. Here in the states Diet Coke is based upon the now removed syrup formulation of “New Coke” and Coke Zero is based on the Coco-Cola Classic (resently we dropped the Classic designation) formulation. Oh and by the way, they taste very different. Diet Coke is far more crisp/dry while Coke Zero has a more pronounced cola nut and vanilla flavor. I have found that most of my friends that enjoy Coco-Cola Classic prefer Coke Zero, while people who have drunk Diet Coke for years have come to appreciate the difference from Coco-Cola Classic.

    Oh and we now have Pepsi Max here as well but for us its Pepsi with additional caffeine. When I was was in UK in the late 90’s Pepsi Max seemed like our Pepsi One but dont hold me to it because I normally never touch the stuff. Coca-Cola rules!

  12. Coke Zero, Pepsi One/Max are basically what happens when you take the Regular sugary formula of each individual brand (Pepsi or Coke Classic) and instead of adding sugar, you add the diet sweeteners (Splenda, Aspartame, et al). Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi are their own unique formulas. (Source: Used to work for Pepsi)

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