Wearable Coca-Cola you ask? Well, if you are a Gen Xer like me, you know that Coca-Cola was a big fashion trend back in the 1980s. You remember, the oversized rugby shirt with the large Coca-Cola logo on the front? The shirt came in many collectible colors (and yes, we collected them) that we mixed and matched with our Swatch watches and Converse sneakers. Having a bunch of energetic teenagers strut around as walking advertisements was the best promotion that this CPG company could hope for—and it actually lasted for a few years. Way to go Coca-Cola! You had us.
Fast forward 25 years: I’m at a shopping mall in São Paulo with my boyfriend’s 16-year-old Brazilian nephew when I found myself inside a Coca-Cola branded store. The store was full of youthful, urban, European-influenced clothes and shoes. A big consumer packaged goods brand has an entire clothing line? Not just a shirt with a logo but rather a popular fashion brand comparable to Aeropostale? I found the merchandise in the store to be a big disconnect from the consumer Coca-Cola beverage brand that I know here in the United States.
It made me wonder, would this Coca-Cola fashion line ever see the light of day here? Would the young American consumer market allow a CPG company like Coca-Cola to stretch its brand this far? I could be wrong, but knowing how difficult it is to get the U.S. market to accept a toothpaste brand to branch out to deodorant, I think it’s safe to say a Coca-Cola fashion line wouldn’t survive here.
Nevertheless, we should ask ourselves as marketers if this brand should have a global, glocal or local brand strategy. We need to go case by case and category by category. Clearly, one strategy doesn’t fit all.