July 10

New Coke & Coca-Cola Classic

July 10, 1985 - Atlanta

The greatest marketing blunder ever? Or one of the most ingenious ploys in history to boost sales?

In the 1980s, things were not going better for Atlanta-based Coca-Cola. Losing market share to rival Pepsi, Coke executives decided to overhaul their flagship drink: make it even sweeter to win back younger soft-drink consumers who favored Pepsi. With positive taste tests in hand, Coca-Cola rejected the idea of selling the new stuff alongside the old. In April 1985, the word was given: New Coke would replace the product they had sold for nearly a century.

Stock went up, sales increased, and Pepsi executives fretted. But then fierce backlash set in: the media damned the decision, and outraged calls and letters poured in to Coke headquarters, including one addressed to the President as “Chief Dodo.” Under intense public pressure, Coke brought back the original formula and called it Coke Classic. It quickly outsold both Pepsi and New Coke.

Coke announced the return of the Real Thing on July 10, 1985, Today in Georgia History.