Coca-Cola Zero or Coke Zero is a product of the Coca-Cola Company. It is a low-calorie (0.75 calories per bottle) variation of Coca-Cola specifically marketed to males, who were shown to associate ‘diet’ drinks with women.
All versions of Coke Zero sold in various countries are based on the same flavoring formula, and all are carbonated and caffeinated (except the caffeine free) However, the exact combination of artificial sweeteners and preservatives used vary from market to market.
Sodium cyclamate, a relatively cheap artificial sweetener banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since 1969 as a carcinogen, has been used in the Coca-Cola Zero versions produced in Spain, Portugal, Venezuela, Chile, and some Central American countries. It was used for a time in Mexico, before a consumer campaign led to its removal from the drink in 2008. In June 2009 Venezuela ordered Coca-Cola to withdraw its Coca-Cola Zero product, as it contained more than the legal levels of sodium cyclamate.
Coca-Cola Cherry Zero is a flavored variation of Coca-Cola Zero. In late January 2007, it was introduced to store shelves and was widely available throughout the United States before its official debut, which occurred on 7 February 2007 at New York City’s Fashion Week. Coca-Cola introduced a vanilla-flavored version, Coca-Cola Vanilla Zero, concurrently with the relaunch of the original Coca-Cola Vanilla in May 2007. Coke Vanilla Zero is currently available in the U.S., Canada, Nauru, Australia, and Hong Kong.
In February 2010, Coca-Cola Zéro sans caféine (Caffeine Free Coca-Cola Zero) was released in France. In Japan, Coca-Cola Zero Free was launched in April 2010. In the Netherlands, “Coca-Cola Zero Caffeine Free” has been sold since the start of 2011.
Coke Zero was Coca-Cola’s biggest product launch in 22 years. It is primarily marketed towards young adult males and has even been nicknamed “Bloke Coke”. The launch started in Spain, on Wednesday 21 June 2006.
In the U.S., advertising has been tailored to its targeted market by describing the drink as “calorie-free” rather than “diet”, since young adult males are said to associate diet drinks with women. U.S marketing has also emphasized its similarity in taste to sugared Coca-Cola through a 2007 U.S. viral marketing campaign that suggested the company’s executives were so angry over the drinks’ similarities they were considering suing their coworkers for “taste infringement”.
In Australia, the product was originally promoted by a fake front group; the campaign included outdoor graffiti and online spamming that mentioned a fake blog. Once exposed, consumer advocates assailed the campaign as misleading and established the Zero Coke Movement to comment on the ethics of Coke’s activities.