Now the company is arming itself with another offbeat offering: Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Byte, a new flavor meant to taste like… pixels.
“Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Byte makes the intangible taste of the Pixel tangible,” Oana Vlad, Coca-Cola’s senior director of strategy, told CNN Business in an email. It’s “the Coca-Cola flavor you know and love, with bright elements up front and refreshing on the finish,” she said.
Byte is the second drink – after Starlight – from Coca-Cola Creations, the company’s new innovation division.
That means developing creative, time-limited flavors and bringing fascinating products to market Marketing campaigns to promote them. It also means leaving customers wondering what some of these new flavors actually taste like.
The reaction to Starlight was very good according to Vlad. “We see a lot of discussion and speculation about his mysterious taste in space,” she said.
“Our fans are mesmerized – they love the playful novelty,” she added. “The abstract nature of taste descriptions provides an opportunity for debate and discussion.”
In other words, the odd flavors create excitement.
Beverages launched by Coca-Cola Creations are also served with marketing campaigns aimed at customers who love to be online. For example, the push for “Starlight” featured a holographic concert by pop star Ava Max, accessed via a QR code on the the label of the drink.
Byte is all about gaming.
“Byte” existed online before it existed in real life: the product appeared worldwide on an island in the video game Fortnite in late March. The island named Pixel Point was developed by Coca-Cola and its partner PWR, which creates virtual experiences in Fortnite.
Players arriving at Pixel Point can play a variety of games including one that takes place in a classic coke glass bottle.
Once customers get their hands on a can of Byte in the real world, they can play an augmented reality game by scanning the pixelated label with their phone.
“We believe it’s important to have a presence where gamers play,” Vlad said, noting that “Coca-Cola has a long history of supporting the gaming community.” The company has a partnership with video game developer Riot Games.
US customers can purchase Byte online starting May 2 while supplies last. The flavor is only available in a sugar-free two-pack in the United States, which costs about $15 plus shipping. Byte will be available in some Latin American countries on Monday and in China on May 23.