Coke Zero has generally been marketed to sporting events that skew to a male audience, while Diet Coke has been marketed to audiences that skew female, says Duane Stanford, editor of Beverage Digest. Both drinks are listed as having no calories.
Coca-Cola in the past has blamed the declines of Diet Coke on concerns over the aspartame used in the drink, though the ingredient is also used in Coke Zero, which has enjoyed growth globally.
James Quincey, CEO of Coca-Cola, says people haven’t always understood that Diet Coke and Coke Zero have no sugar.
“It may surprise you to learn, but it’s true,” Quincey
Coca-Cola notes that the newer version of Coke Zero has already been launched in some other countries. That may allay concerns that the revamp won’t go over well with fans, such as the infamous 1985 rollout of “New Coke,” or PepsiCo’s more recent recipe change for Diet Pepsi. PepsiCo had removed aspartame, which it said people didn’t like. But then it brought back a version of Diet Pepsi with the artificial sweetener after sales fell.