Tami Reller, head of marketing and finance for the Windows business, said in an interview today with the Financial Times that it was changing “key aspects” of Windows 8. The FT called it “one of the most prominent admissions of failure for a new mass-market consumer product since Coca-Cola’s New Coke fiasco nearly 30 years ago.”
But, will Microsoft take advantage of this New Coke Moment? Do they understand that marketing is not just about new features and a great interface? Marketing is often about the relationship human beings have with their brands.
It is worth taking the time to remember New Coke. For 80 days in 1985 (April 23rd to July 11th — days that will live in marketing history), the Coca-Cola company replaced the 100-year-old formula for Coca-Cola with a new formula. It wasn’t an arbitrary decision. Coca-Cola had been losing market share for 20 years, from 1964 to 1984. In addition, the overall sugar cola market was in decline. It did not take much to figure out that a declining market share in a declining market was a recipe for disaster. The company tried new ads, new packaging, new everything except the 100-year-old formula.
Were people just getting tired of the taste of sugary cola? That thought really worried Coca-Cola executives in 1984.