Coke to launch Dreamworld cola in latest push to attract younger consumers

Dive Brief:

  • Coca-Cola is launching Dreamworld — the fourth and final of its Coca-Cola “Creations” flavors in 2022 — that the beverage giant says allows consumers to explore “what a dream tastes like.” 
  • The soda comes in a can designed to complement its “playfully vibrant flavor notes”  by “fusing whimsical shapes, electric colors and a 3D expression of Coke’s signature script to create an illusionary visual landscape” on the packaging, according to Coca-Cola. Along with the product launch on Aug. 15, Coca-Cola is offering immersive digital activations to “provide a portal” into Dreamworld.
  • The Coca-Cola Creations platform, which debuted in February, was introduced to highlight the company’s signature beverage while drawing in younger consumers. 

Dive Insight:

As the pandemic intensified two years ago, Coca-Cola decided to cut its 500 brands by more than half to focus on offerings that can achieve large scale. Since then, it has discontinued Tab, offloaded Zico coconut water and Odwalla, and announced plans to cease production of its Honest teas line later this year.

In its place, Coca-Cola has purchased fast-growing brands like BodyArmor, and has focused more attention on expanding the reach of larger offerings in its portfolio — in many cases by expanding the usage occasions of its beverages. For example, it has partnered on alcoholic offerings for brands such as Topo Chico, Simply and its signature Coke.

In the case of Dreamworld and the other three Creations beverages that came before it, Coca-Cola is trying to tap into gamers and younger consumers who will be responsible for a bigger share of the company’s sales going forward. It’s a similar strategy the company is tapping into with frozen drinks. 

Meredith Cagigal, group director of Coca-Cola’s foodservice channels in North America, told Food Dive earlier this year that frozen helps attract younger millennials and Gen Z to its portfolio of brands early on before they transition into more adult-like products such as Coca-Cola Zero Sugar or Diet Coke.

“Frozen is not the largest [segment at Coca-Cola], but we definitely think that’s the pathway toward recruiting the next generation,” she said.

With limited-time products like Dreamworld, Coca-Cola can attract drinkers who want to find out for themselves what the mysteriously named soda tastes like. In addition, the uncertainty surrounding the name is likely to spark conversation, particularly among consumers online, further generating buzz for the item and potentially other Coca-Cola brands.  

Coca-Cola’s other Creations have included “pixel-flavored” Byte and a strawberry and watermelon flavored collaboration with Grammy-nominated artist Marshmello.

“Like the Coca-Cola Creations that came before it, Dreamworld plays with the unexpected and will no doubt provoke discovery and debate among consumers… which we welcome,” Alessandra Cascino, creative and shopper program director for Coca-Cola’s North America Operating Unit, said in a blog post.

Similar to its philosophy in frozen, Coca-Cola is no doubt hoping younger consumers will jump at the chance to try one of these novel drinks before becoming hooked on its other offerings, such as Coca-Cola, Diet Coke and Fanta. With soda consumption down sharply during the last 20 years, beverage makers such as Coca-Cola and PepsiCo need to get creative to find ways to get shoppers to stock up.