Coca-Cola’s Personalized Cans: What Are You Buying Into?

September 30, 2014

Connect Member

Founder and CEO of hint, Inc.. Mother of 4. Huge multitasker.

If you’ve ever noticed the crowds around the keychain racks at Disney World, you are well aware of the fact that people love personalized items. Coca-Cola is also aware of this fact, and they are taking advantage of it. During your recent grocery shopping venture you may have noticed something calling your name in the soda aisle: Coke’s new personalized cans. But just because something has your name on it doesn’t mean it’s good for you.

While the new gimmick is cool, in fact I might even call it genius, haven’t you wondered why Coke is putting your name on their cans? It’s not only to attract you to the can, but it’s also to distract you from what’s inside the can. As a healthy beverage innovator and the founder of Hint water, I want to make you aware of what you are buying into when you purchase a can of Coke with your name on it, and how that personalized can might negatively affect your health.

It Started with Diet Coke and Coke Zero
People thought that if they drank Diet Coke or Coke Zero, as opposed to regular Coke, it would help them lose weight or control their diabetes, and it’s just not true. People have begun to realize that the artificial sweeteners in these products may be doing more harm than good. For example, they might be gaining weight because the taste of the sweeteners makes them crave sweets. As sales went down 9 percent in the beginning of the year, Coca-Cola began to realize that consumers were catching on.

What Could They Do to Get Sales Back Up?
Well, they couldn’t promote what’s in the can because it’s an unhealthy product, so they decided to drive attention to what’s on the can, in hopes of getting consumers to take their eye off the ball. And it worked; sales have been up this last quarter because, like I said, everyone loves something with their name on it.

The problem is that they are still promoting an unhealthy product; the only difference is now they aren’t even trying to pretend the product is healthy. At Hint, we try to help people get healthier. We encourage people to drink water with just a little flavor to make it more interesting. We created the product for  people who find plain water boring, but if someone tells me they prefer plain water, I say, “Great. Drink water.” Coca-Cola and PepsiCo could do this, and still make money for the companies because they own Dasani and Aquafina, respectively. I believe they choose not to because those brands aren’t their mother ships — Coke, Diet Coke, Pepsi and Diet Pepsi are. If they promoted water, they’d be pushing consumers away from sweets, and in turn away from their mother ships, which they are trying to desperately to protect. This is probably why Coca-Cola hasn’t signed up again for the First Lady’s Drink Up campaign, which promotes water and unsweetened beverages — a campaign Hint water participates in.

It’s All About Making Money for These Brands
They have the power to promote healthier choices and actually have an impact, but they choose not to. Instead, they put your name on a can of an unhealthy product and call it a day — a good day in fact. It’s all about making money. The scariest part is how common diabetes and pre-diabetes is these days, yet these brands are still pushing these products.

What consumers need to realize is that although a personalized can of Coke is cute  — maybe even a collector’s item  — purchasing one is buying into a brand that, in my opinion, doesn’t care about the consumer’s health at all. Just because they put your name on the can does not mean they care about you. You are helping a company— which has no interest in helping you — succeed.

If you really want to drink something that has your name on it, I’ll write your name on a bottle of Hint water and send it your way. That way you’ll get the gimmick and the good product. How does that sound?

What are your thoughts on the new Coke cans? Leave your answers in the comments section.

Kara Goldin is a member of the DailyWorth Connect program. Read more about the program here.