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Coca-Cola Stories: New Coke

By:  Conversations Staff Jan 1, 2012
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Can of New Coke

Coca-Cola touches the lives of millions of people each and every day. From special occasions to exceptional moments in everyday life, Coca-Cola is there. The brand has become a special part of people's lives.

Over the years, thousands of people have sent us personal stories about how Coca-Cola has affected their lives. Whether it is a favorite childhood memory, a reminder of family gatherings, or a recollection of good times with friends, Coca-Cola has touched the lives of people all over the world.

Here are some of the stories that Coca-Cola fans have shared with us over the years.

  • In 1985, Coca-Cola decided to change the formula. That's when I became an activist. After stockpiling cases of Coke in my garage, I contacted the Old Cola Drinkers of America and asked what I could do in California. I told them of the blind taste tests I was running in downtown Palo Alto and the national news came out to cover my "booth." Most people did not care for the new Coke. No surprise there! Things rapidly took off that summer as we took the campaign full bore. We came out with T-shirts and had rallies. I was in every major news magazine in the country! My uncle was in Singapore and saw my picture in a newspaper. All of this brought me satisfaction, because it meant that my message was getting out. I called the offices of Coca-Cola and gave my name at the time, and the dry response was, "We know who you are." One day, I was home with my one-year-old daughter when I got a call from the local radio station. They asked me how I felt. I asked, about what? That's when they told me: Coke was going to come out with Coca-Cola classic. We then had a huge celebratory party; over 100 people were there. It was amazing -- a real grassroots campaign that made a difference!

  • I am 49 years old and have been drinking Coke since before I can remember. When I first heard of the coming 1985 change in Coca-Cola, I was excited. I thought that it would become even better. It turns out, when the celebrity said that he liked the new Coke even more, that was good acting! After tasting the new Coke, I quickly began buying up all the old Coke I could in the Vancouver, Canada, area. Imagine my joy when The Real Thing made its comeback! Oh Happiness! Oh Bliss!

  • When the new Coke came out, I borrowed my friend’s pick-up and went to a club store and bought three pallets of regular Coke. It took two trips to get the Coke home. I had enough Coke to last me through the crisis, but I had to repair the floor in my spare bedroom -- because of all the weight, the floor had sunk. It was well worth it.

  • I worked for a local Coca-Cola bottler at the time new Coke came out. We heard about the new formula and couldn't even believe it. Our phone started ringing with complaints from customers. We began keeping a list of outlets that might have had a supply of the old product, and we would let the customers know where we thought they should go to try and buy up the inventory. I remember classic Coke was reintroduced in Denver, which was not our market, and friends had some of the original Coke sent to us.

  • I remember when new Coke came out in 1985. I was one of the ones who quickly panicked. I didn't have the money to stock up. I remember I was at a car wash one day with my sisters shortly after new Coke came out. When I saw there was the old Coke in the vending machine there, I was so thrilled that I ran full speed to tell my sisters that I had found some original Coke, and slipped and fell. I have the scar to this day on my shin, but it's much, much preferable to having no scar and no Coca-Cola classic!

  • When Coca-Cola changed their formula (to new Coke) our family and friends stockpiled "old Coke" in the 16-ounce bottles. We're all big Coca-Cola fans and changing the formula did not agree at all with us. I wrote to Coke in Atlanta asking when they would bring back the original. The day the grocery store put Coca-Cola classic back on the shelves, I wrote across the display, "Nancy, it's back," and proceeded to call my friend to tell her. She immediately came to the grocery store.

  • When Coca-Cola decided to change the formula to new Coke and not offer "classic Coke" anymore, I purchased enough Coca-Cola from the store to be able to have at least two cans of Coke a day for three years. (That's all I could afford or I would have bought more.) Thank goodness you brought it back. I still have some old Coke left in my Coca-Cola room in my house!

  • I was in the Navy in the mid 80s when Coke was changed. I wasn't pleased. I remember the last Coke I had was in San Diego and the first Coke classic I had was in San Francisco, at Fisherman's Wharf. I remember being happy the original taste was back.

  • My class went on a school trip to Germany in 1985. This was the same year that new Coke appeared, and we were unable to get our beloved Coke in the U.S. While we were in Germany, we guzzled the precious "classic" Coke and brought some home. How relieved we were when "classic" Coke was made again a few months later.

  • My grandmother is 90 years old and has to have a Coke every day. She is in very good health and lives with my mother. Years ago, when the man that delivered Coke to our church and to her home (she bought so much Coke) told her that you were going to the new Coke, she bought many glass bottles of Coke. She hid the bottles everywhere. We still find them in her house today!

  • In 1985, I had experienced several personal losses and had undergone a couple of difficult changes in my life. I moved from Iowa back to my hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana. I began a new job for the state of Indiana, and worked as an account executive marketing a job training program. During my tenure in that position, I was responsible for an educational seminar for the state. I brought in a speaker from Coca-Cola. His presentation was about surviving change and embracing change. (This was during the new Coke marketing campaign.) During the seminar, he asked attendees to name the individual that had survived the most change; I was chosen. He presented me with a poster that depicts Coke through the ages. It remains one of my prized possessions today. His gift allowed me to understand that change is a part of life -- whether difficult or easy. The new Coke can on the print I own is a positive and not a negative symbol for me. It depicts that even with small failures in your life, overall you can be successful through your endurance, foresight and hard work!

  • I guess my story would have to be the time I went out and purchased 50 or so cases of old Coca-Cola when some lamebrain caused a panic over the new Coke! Thank God it didn't last. True die-hard Coke drinkers knew our classic would come back. I was sure glad I had bought enough to last until it did. Like the commercial says -- Can't Beat the Real Thing!

  • The summer after new Coke was introduced, I was visiting California. A friend of mine answered her phone and it was a research company commissioned by your company to poll people about their feelings on new Coke. I was thrilled to be able to offer my opinion (which wasn't favorable) and even more pleased when Coke classic was put out on the market.

  • I have always enjoyed Coke and when Coke introduced the new Coke in 1985, I was not ready for a change. I was living pretty far out of civilization -- Mountain Home, Idaho. I bought cases and cases of the old Coke at the commissary. It seemed others had the same idea and soon the only "old Coke" left was what had been stockpiled. I was extremely happy when classic Coke came back.

  • My family and I have been active Coke drinkers for my entire life. I recall a time when Coca-Cola decided to change the formula; there was havoc amongst my household. I believe there was a date when the new Coke would be sold and the old Coke would be removed from the shelves. My father, who is a tremendous Coke consumer, panicked, rushed to the store and bought several cases of what is now Coke classic. These Cokes only lasted two weeks. I was a child when this happened, and I recall my father grounding me for drinking his "old Coke," which he held as priceless. Thank God for the return of Coke classic or my family may still be in mayhem.

Do you have a personal story? Tell us how Coca-Cola has played a part in your life and it may be included on Coca-Cola Journey. Share it here!