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ATLANTA -- After 24 years, the Coca-Cola Co. will remove the "classic" name from its flagship brand, writing the final chapter in one of the greatest marketing blunders in U.S. business history, Bloomberg News reported.
The word "classic" only appears on Coca-Cola bottles and cans in the U.S. It was removed from 16-ounce bottles in limited test markets and will come off all products by mid-year to make the company’s packaging consistent worldwide, said Scott Williamson, a spokesman for the Atlanta-based soft-drink maker.
"It gives us a chance to harmonize Coca-Cola’s name in North America with every other country in the world," Williamson said in a telephone interview to Bloomberg News.
In April 1985, Coca-Cola introduced New Coke, changing the secret formula first introduced in 1886 when John Stith Pemberton made the syrup and sold it to a pharmacy, which served it as a fountain soda. Backlash over the switch led Coca-Cola to put the "classic" version on the market alongside New Coke within three months, the company said. New Coke was eventually withdrawn in the U.S.
"The reason for ‘classic’ as a descriptor has all but disappeared," Williamson stated. The word will remain in small print on the back of bottles and cans in the phrase "Coke Classic Original Formula," according to the report.