Soft drinks manufacturers pay a tax rate equivalent to 24p per litre on drinks with more than 8 grams of sugar per 100ml, such as classic Coke with 10.6g of sugar per 100ml.
Coca-Cola GB said the design change and an accompanying £5m ad campaign are designed to encourage more people to try Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, which was introduced in place of Coca-Cola Zero in 2016 with a new formula designed to taste more like classic Coke and new packaging featuring a red disk against a black blackground.
The new design, in place from September, further shrinks the area taken up by Coke Zero’s original black colour at the expense of classic Coke’s red. It also brings both variants closer together in design with the distinguishing mark being a band at the top of the packaging. On classic Coke the band is red and reads ‘original taste’, while on Zero Sugar Coke the band is black and reads ‘zero sugar no calories’.
The company is seeking to underline how similar the products are with a TV ad by McCann Europe that in its words features "mirrored visuals of great experiences, that like both drinks, are just as enjoyable either way".
The ad is soundtracked by a cover of the Blondie song One Way or Another and prominently features the copy "Coca-Cola one way or another". It will first air on 18 September.
An extensive Coca-Cola Zero Sugar sampling campaign will see seven million cans sampled by the end of the year.
Alec Mellor, Coca-Cola marketing manager said: "For more than 130 years, the colour red has been associated with the great taste and experience of enjoying a Coca-Cola and we want to make it even clearer that you can have that taste and experience with or without sugar.
"Sales of Coca-Cola zero sugar have almost doubled in the last two years [this claim is based on Nielsen figures comparing volume sales in July 2016 and July 2018] and we believe this latest change will help us grow it even further and encourage more people to give it a try."