Coke’s latest flavor is here. And it’s a weird one

Last month, Coca-Cola announced a new limited-edition drink: Coca-Cola Starlight, a red version of the iconic soda with a “space-inspired” flavor.

Now the company is outdoing itself with another offbeat offering: Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Byte, a new flavor that’s supposed to taste like…pixels.

“Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Byte makes the intangible flavor of the pixel tangible,” Oana Vlad, Coca-Cola’s senior director of strategy, told CNN Business in an email. It’s “the Coca-Cola flavor you know and love with elements that are bright at the beginning and refreshing at the end,” she said.

Byte is the second beverage, after Starlight, from Coca-Cola Creations, the company’s new innovation division.

The company decided to discontinue half of its portfolio a few years ago, dropping some outdated but beloved drinks, including Tab. Since then, the soft drink giant has focused on promoting its main product, Coca-Cola.

That means coming up with creative limited-time flavors and developing intriguing marketing campaigns to promote them. It also means letting customers wonder what some of these new flavors really taste like.

The reaction to Starlight has been very good, according to Vlad. “We’re seeing a lot of discussion and speculation about its mysterious space flavor,” he said.

“Our fans are intrigued, they love playful novelty,” he added. “The abstract nature of flavor descriptions offers an opportunity for debate and discussion.”

In other words, the strange flavors are inspiring some excitement.

Beverages launched by Coca-Cola creations are also served with marketing campaigns catering to customers who love to be online. The “Starlight” push, for example, included a holographic concert by pop star Ava Max that could be accessed via a QR code on the drink label.

With “Byte” it’s about playing.

attractive to gamers

“Byte” existed online before it did in real life: The product appeared globally in late March on an island in the video game Fortnite. The island, named Pixel Point was created by Coca-Cola and its partner PWR, which creates virtual experiences within Fortnite.

Players who make it to Pixel Point can play different games, including one that takes place inside a classic glass Coke bottle.

Once customers get their hands on a can of Byte in the real world, they will be able to play an augmented reality game by scanning the pixelated label with their phones.

Beverage brands have long been advertising directly to players, but with more companies jumping on the bandwagon, the competition is heating up.

“We think it’s important to be present in the spaces where gamers play,” said Vlad, noting that “Coca-Cola has long supported the gaming community.” The company has a partnership with video game developer Riot Games.

US customers can purchase Byte online beginning May 2 while supplies last. The flavor is available only in a sugar-free two-pack in the United States, which costs about $15 plus shipping. “Byte” will be available for sale in select Latin American countries on Monday and in China on May 23.

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