Thirty-one years ago, Coca-Cola, the storied soft drink brand, found itself losing market share to Pepsi. In fact, over a number of years the market share of Coke sank slowly, but noticeably, to the point where corporate headquarters demanded a shake up. That shake up became the disaster known as New Coke. The staid brand rebranded with a new flavor and a more youthful image.
It did not go as planned. There was international outrage. No employee was safe. Anyone and everyone who worked for Coca-Cola had the potential to be assaulted. To this day, New Coke is a short cut term for a marketing disaster. But internally, the Coca-Cola company still considers it a success.
Donald Trump is New Coke.
After years of a boring old GOP, its primary voters have decided it needs a shake up. They’ve changed the flavor of the GOP from the traditional to a nuttier flavor. Gone is the party of free markets. Now it is protectionism, transgender rights, and the minimum wage.
The party wants to appeal to a new group, but it is ending badly. The focus groups *cough* polls show that most Americans hate the new flavor. In fact, seventy percent of Americans hate the new flavor of the GOP. Now in crisis mode, the chief marketer for New Coke, Corey Lewandoski, has been canned. But the problem is not Lewandowski whose motto was “Let Trump Be Trump.” The problem is Trump himself. He is New Coke. Paul Manafort will no more improve Trump by forcing him to stay on TelePrompter anymore than the executives at Coca-Cola could improve New Coke by spending millions in slick, youthful advertising campaigns and controlled messaging.
I had an uncle who loved New Coke. The product certainly appealed to a particular sort. He was a routine liar who wound up in jail at one point. It takes all kinds and New Coke appealed to that kind. Trump too appeals to a particular kind of angry and aggrieved white guy who thinks everyone else agrees with him when really 70% of the nation does not.
The upshot is that New Coke was quickly dispatched to the great hereafter of soft drinks. Coca-Cola’s market share soared as people appreciated what they’d just taken for granted. To this day, the real Coca-Cola dominates its competition. In fact, the growth of coca-cola after the disaster led many to this day to conclude that New Coke was really marketing genius.
So too can it be with Donald Trump. If the GOP rejects the brand in favor of the GOP-classic, the shell shocked public will recognize that there is nothing wrong with the boring old GOP — a party of adults who can actually make America great again, unlike the new, orange variety of the GOP.