Coca-Cola’s Fairlife Milk – A New Cash Cow or an Udder Branding Disaster?

If you’re a follower of marketing, branding, the food industry or consumer products in general, you probably saw the news last month that Coca-Cola is launching Fairlife – a “premiumized” (their word, not mine) milk product with more protein and less sugar than “normal” milk.

Frankly, I’m a little bit conflicted.

fairlife ad

On the one hand, it’s no secret that carbonated beverages are on the decline and the company doesn’t hide the fact that its brands include non-carbonated products like FUZE, Dasani, POWERADE, Monster and glaceau. This includes, by my count, six different water and three different tea brands. So I guess rather than launching a seventh water brand (#H2OhEnoughAlready?), if you’re going to capitalize on consumer desire for all things protein and all things naturally sourced, why not take a crack at revitalizing what is arguably the world’s first protein drink? And from a health and nutrition standpoint (as well as in support of family farms), I’m kind of happy to see a company put some marketing juice behind what’s clearly a better choice than a lot of today’s protein and energy drinks.

But that said it’s hard not to throw some criticism Coke’s way:

I guess in the end, I hope Fairlife finds enough success to stay on the shelf – if nothing else because it’s innovative and appears to fill a marketplace need. However, I think Coke has to go back to the drawing board when it comes to brand proposition and pricing if it wants Fairlife to take its place alongside the company’s other leading product brands.


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