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New Coke: Was It Really That Long Ago?

As a marketing pro, I get great pleasure out of hyper-analyzing campaigns good and bad. And as a type-A personality with a steel trap mind, I tend to remember all kinds of useless information. But New Coke falls in that category of a marketing snafu that I thought everyone remembered, especially those of us who live/work/market in Atlanta and drink lots of Coke.

Apparently I was wrong. Yesterday at the PRSA-Georgia Annual Conference I enjoyed the “Legends in PR”  panel presentation that included Harold Burson, founder of  Burson/Marsteller; Bob Cohn, founder of Cohn & Wolfe; and Ofield Dukes, president, Ofield Dukes & Associates. One of the questions posed was “worst PR blunder” to which Burson quickly piped up “New Coke.” The room burst out laughing. Except for the two women across the table from me who asked our table mate, “What’s New Coke?” I was appalled. How can you work in PR and not know about New Coke. Well, apparently the new generation of PR Pros may just be too young to know about New Coke unless they are reading about it in textbooks. That was 1985. Can you believe it?

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