The New Space-Flavored Soda From Coca-Cola

James Logie

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Have you ever wanted to drink the experience of sitting around a campfire and staring up into space?

No, this isn’t a s’mores flavored Coke — or even one with hints of smoke. Coca-Cola Starlight is the first limited-edition flavor from Coca-Cola Creations. And it’s genuinely marketed as space-flavored.

How can something taste like space, and how is Coca-Cola marketing this unique product?

Fly Me to the Moon

Coca-Cola Starlight is promoted as a “new but familiar taste.” This product is inspired by space and “it tastes include additional notes reminiscent of stargazing around a campfire.”

They have released it in regular, and a Coke Zero Sugar version.

It has an immediate unique taste. It also has the “subtle cooling sensation” they have said about it. It smells like Coke, and despite the unique flavor, is still recognizable as the classic beverage.

I think it has a bit of a candy-ish flavor with hints of berry and almost fruit punch-like? You may even get a touch of bubblegum.

Some get a taste of cotton candy and even caramel plum. Others get the slightest taste of Fruity Pebbles cereal.

The beverage is red, and if you notice those berry notes, this seems to be entirely by design.

One of the ideas with Coke Starlight is it replicates the taste of space. Astronomers have discovered that space may indeed have a smell and taste.

A dust cloud discovered in the Milky Way is said to contain ethyl formate. This is the same chemical that gives raspberries their flavor.

Legit Product or Marketing Gimmick?

Maybe it’s a bit of both? Coke Starlight seems like the company thinking way outside the box, and Coke Creations trying to take things to next level.

The company seems to be trying to expand not only its flavors but the way we perceive the entire company.

The focus here is on space, tech, and a way to challenge how we see the iconic beverage company.

When you hear about a space-flavored Cola, you can’t help but be curious. Also, marketing something as “limited time only” never hurts, either.

Along with the drink, Coke has a new merch store and a portion of their website devoted to it. The merch includes hoodies and jackets designed in the same way as the unique packaging.

Coca-Cola Goes Digital — and Virtual

Part of the campaign with Coke Starlight is a cross-marketing approach. Coke is trying to take a product and create an all-around sense experience.

They’ve brought on pop star Ava Max and included her in an augmented reality performance.

To view this, you go to the Coca-Cola Creations website and scan a Starlight product. The idea seems to be that you don’t just drink Coca-Cola Starlight: you experience it.

A digital marketing campaign is nothing unique for a beverage company or new product, but the way they are approaching it is new.

You can only market a century-old product in so many ways. Coke Starlight gives the company the opportunity to create a more virtual presence.

They’re ignoring their roots, but this seems to be the chance to take things from faded billboards and Santa Claus into a futuristic platform.

How Does an Old Company Take a New Direction?

Is saying that Coca-Cola Starlight is not your grandmother's cola the easiest way to sum this up?

Ultimately, I think this is what the company is going for. Coca-Cola Starlight — and everything that goes with it — won’t necessarily appeal to the older crowd, but I don’t think Coke wants it to.

Releasing a soda that tastes like space is a certain way to separate yourself from the status quo. When you put out a product that creates “a cooling sensation that evokes the feeling of a cold journey to space,” you’re not exactly playing it safe.

Coke Starlight won’t become a marketing disaster like New Coke, as the limited edition aspect to it ensures it will go away when they decide.

You may easily dismiss a product like Coca-Cola Starlight as a simple novelty — but that’s the point. In our culture, Coca-Cola has become as standard as baseball and apple pie with how consistent it’s been. It’s always there, never changing.

Upping the novelty factor is a way to create new intrigue. And a space-flavored soda may be as intriguing as it gets.

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Personal trainer, podcaster, Amazon best-selling author. Writing about some health, a little marketing, and a whole lot of 1980s.

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