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Diet Coke

Three Decades of Delicious: Diet Coke® Through the Years

How Diet Coke® became the world's top low-calorie soda

Can you keep a secret? Diet Coke® began in 1980 as a confidential, high-priority project that represented a big, but necessary, risk for The Coca-Cola Company. Consumers were increasingly seeking low- or no-calorie drinks and had made it clear that they preferred colas.

"We needed a big idea to come out of one of the toughest decades we'd ever seen," said Jack Carew, the planning manager who led the Diet Coke project. Researchers spent more than two years creating a low-calorie soda that enhanced and complemented the Coca-Cola brand, conscious of the fact that if the drink didn't do as well as everyone hoped, it could complicate the future of TaB, which, at the time, was the No. 1 diet soft drink brand.

Diet Coke launched to much fanfare in 1982.

A Slam-Dunk Debut
Within a year, Diet Coke was the No. 1 diet soft drink. By 1984, Diet Coke displaced 7 Up as the No. 3 soft drink in the United States behind Coca-Cola® and Pepsi — a position it held until the end of 2010 when it overtook Pepsi as the No. 2 soft drink, according to The Coca-Cola Company.

For nearly four decades, Diet Coke has been one of the world's top low-calorie soft drinks because people love it's delicious, unique taste.

An International Sensation
Just one year after appearing in the United States, Diet Coke was distributed in 19 countries, including Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, Great Britain, Northway, South Africa and West Germany. Today, Diet Coke is among the best-selling Coca-Cola brands in the world.

Diet Coke is known in select countries by the names Coca-Cola Light, Coke Light and No-Calorie Coca-Cola. No matter where you are, you can enjoy the drink that is a hit with people of all ages who want a no-calorie soft drink.

New Varieties, Same Great Taste
In the years since the soft drink bubbled onto the beverage scene, The Coca-Cola Company has launched several varieties of Diet Coke. Caffeine-free Diet Coke debuted in 1983, Diet Cherry Coke hit store shelves in 1986, Diet Coke with Lemon was introduced in the United States in 2001, Diet Coke with Lime made its debut in 2004, Diet Coke with Splenda sweetened the lineup in 2005, Diet Coke with Raspberry bloomed in 2005, and Diet Coke Plus — enhanced with vitamins and minerals — was introduced in 2007. (The last two are no longer on the market.) Through every new product, advertising campaign, milestone and endorsement, Diet Coke has reigned supreme in the diet sparkling beverage category

No matter the variety of Diet Coke, fans can trust that the great taste doesn't change.

"Since 1982, Americans have fallen in love with Diet Coke because of its unique, delicious taste," says Melissa Schwartz, brand manager for Diet Coke. "The taste has always been what sets this brand apart. Our most recent Diet Coke 'Get a Taste' campaign is all about putting the taste of Diet Coke front and center and reigniting fans' love for the product."

In fact, the new "Get a Taste" campaign harkens to Diet Coke's very first advertising slogan, "Just for the Taste of It." The reason for Diet Coke's success is as simple as it is brilliant: Diet Coke has stayed true to its same delicious taste. And people all around the world love it.

Today, Diet Coke, Caffeine-Free Diet Coke, Diet Coke Cherry, Diet Coke with Lime and Diet Coke with Splenda® are found in restaurants, stores, businesses and homes around the world. Their prevalence and popularity prove that refreshing great taste always stands the test of time.

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Published: November 06, 2015