R.L. Puffer, via e-mail, asks, 'Whatever happened to ...?' New Coke
New Coke was destined to be a hit. The new formula had been a winner in more than 200,000 blind taste tests, and it was cheaper to make than the old beverage. (New Coke used high-fructose corn syrup instead of cane sugar.) This was sure to leave Pepsi in the dust.
But when New Coke was introduced to the world on April 23, 1985, it bombed.
Coca-Cola had discontinued the old formula when they switched to "new" Coke. This caused an uproar: Coca-Cola was an American institution, and no one appreciated its disappearance - no matter how good the new version was.
After an explosion of emotional public opinion, Coca-Cola announced the return of the original formula July 11, 1985.
The return of "classic" Coke, to be sold alongside the new version, was so important that ABC interrupted "General Hospital" to break the news.
New Coke faded. By 1986 it had only a 3 percent market share. In 1990 it was renamed "Coke II" and virtually vanished. It's still sold in the Midwest.