1. Dasani (in the UK)
Sorry Coke, it’s your turn again and we’re in the UK for the disastrous launch of new bottled water brand Dasani in 2004. Intended as a rival to Pepsi’s Aquafina, it was a relative success in America but a complete disaster in Britain on its launch in February 2004.
It started with the marketing slogans – “bottled spunk” and “can’t live without spunk”. In this context, spunk was meant to imply spirit, energy, pizazz….but unfortunately, it’s also a British slang word for semen, and the campaign became a laughing stock. But worse was to come, as Dasani’s “pure” water was found to be no more than tap water, from Sidcup in Kent. It had been treated and bottled but essentially was the same thing that came out of the tap. Coca-Cola said that they had never made any claim as to Dasani’s origins, but Trading Standards hit back, with an investigation into whether Dasani was any purer than tap water, or in fact different at all.
It certainly was different. In March 2004, bromate was discovered in the water, which is a suspected carcinogenic. The water was withdrawn and, when given an opportunity to relaunch it in 2012, Coca-Cola decided against it. A spectacular failure of a product!
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