ronn torossian coke

Coca-Cola is already a well-known global brand. The soft drink company has promoted its line of soft drinks far and wide. Now, though, Coke is trying something a little bit different. Instead of a sugar and caffeine high, Coke is sharing a different kind of buzz… at least in Japan.

The soft drink company says it plans to launch an alcoholic beverage in Japan later this year. The drink will, reportedly, be a form of flavored sparkling water mixed with shochu, a popular Japanese distilled spirit.

But don’t expect Coke to try this kind of thing in US markets. With this program, Coke is responding directly to a Japanese market singularity, according to Yohko Okabe, who told CNN the new offering was “highly Japan-specific”. In a recent blog post, the president of Coca-Cola Japan called the drink a “unique” addition to the soft drink company’s lineup, admitting the company has not “experimented” in the alcohol market before.

The Japanese Market

Japan presents a unique challenge for Coke. While the brand is very well established in the United States and other markets, Japan is a highly-competitive, ever-changing market, and Coke has to fight for every inch. Japanese consumers love ‘different’ and ‘new,’ and Coke is doing all it can to keep up with the ever-changing Japanese appetite.

Coke is hoping this foray into alcohol goes better than its previous attempts. Many don’t even remember when Coke attempted to get into the wine market back in the 1970s. That attempt didn’t take, and Coke folded those operations after only a few years.

Experimental Marketing

But some markets, like Japan, expect “experiments,” and Coke has seen some success marketing Japan-specific products in the past. Several, including Aquarius, Georgia Coffee, and Sokenbicha have done well for the company, both in Japan and elsewhere in the world.

The other side of the coin is that Coke has to protect its carefully cultivated brand here in the U.S. market. Because Coke is seen here as a family-friendly beverage for kids’ parties and youthful fun, the idea of Coke promoting an alcoholic beverage might be at cross purposes with the company’s established American brand.

That’s not to say expanding into the alcohol business in the U.S. is a dead idea, but it’s not happening any time soon. In the meantime, Coke is content to conduct its consumer PR experiment in Japan, hoping to retain just a bit more of the coveted Japanese beverage market.

Ronn Torossian is the CEO and founder of 5W Public Relations.

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder, President and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations. He has overseen the company's rapid growth and expansion to the Inc. 500 list, as well as provided counsel to hundreds of companies, including members of the Fortune 500, Inc. 500 and Forbes 400. His work spans global interests, corporate entities, high-profile individuals, regional business entities, government agencies and academic institutions - both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues. One of the foremost public relations experts in the U.S., Torossian is known for his aggressive, results-focused orientation, as well as his close working relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities. At 5W Public Relations, Torossian's client experience has included programs for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, Barnes & Noble, Cantor Fitzgerald, IHOP, McDonald's, Evian, EDS, VeriSign, XM Radio, Seagram's, The Loews Regency, Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment, Marriott Hotels, Vail Resorts, Pamela Anderson, Snoop Dogg, the Government of Israel, and others. Referred to by The New York Post as a "publicity guru," by Fox News as a "high-powered PR CEO," by Tyra Banks as a "crisis management guru," and by CNN as "a leading PR expert," Torossian is regularly featured in and quoted by the media, including by CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC, The New York Times, and others. CBS National News said "Ronn Torossian knows spin," and a New York Times feature story on Torossian referred to him as "The consummate hard-driving, scrappy NY publicist." Earlier in his career, Torossian was a Vice President/Group Director for one of The InterPublic Group's (IPG) largest PR agencies, where he was responsible for significant client growth and successful client programs, including work for Clinique, Fox News Channel, DHL, Hard Rock Café and others. A resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Torossian was named to the Advertising Age "40 Under 40" list, PR Week's "40 Under 40" List, is a regular lecturer at universities and conferences, a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of numerous non-profit organizations.