Vanilla-flavoured Coke to launch in May

NEW YORK - Coca-Cola will launch a vanilla-flavoured version of Coke in the United States on May 15.

According to the company, the new drink had been planned for some months but reports of the drink first emerged on April 1, leading some to speculate that Vanilla Coke was an April Fools' joke.

The US launch will be followed by a rollout in Canada several weeks later. The launch follows extensive research by Coke, which has found a broad appeal for a vanilla-flavoured version of its flagship brand.

According to a spokesman for Coca-Cola: "It has a broad range of appeal all the way from teens to young adults and adults. Vanilla seems to cross the generational gap the same way that Coca-Cola does."

Earlier this month, Coca-Cola announced that it was set to launch a lemon-flavoured variant of Diet Coke in the UK. The decision followed a similar launch in the US last year. Coca-Cola has briefed advertising agency Wieden & Kennedy to develop a £5m advertising and promotions campaign for June.

For Coke, it is the first brand extension in some time and it comes at a time when the company is under increasing pressure from product launches by rivals including PepsiCo.

The branding of Vanilla Coke will include old and new elements of the Coca-Cola brand look and design.

If you have an opinion on this or any other issue raised on Brand Republic, join the debate in the Forum here.