Do you remember “New Coke”? In 1985, the Coca-Cola Company decided to reformulate it’s classic soda and rebrand it. As part of a rebranding campaign, the company released New Coke with the slogan, “The new taste of Coca-Cola.” The new formula, and the branding campaign that went along with it, were a colossal failure. People hated New Coke. They just wanted the old formula. Shortly thereafter the company was forced to release a second brand, Coca-Cola Classic, which was actually just the old formula under a new label. I studied this case in business school and the lesson I learned was “don’t mess with a good thing”, especially if you don’t have a better alternative.
According to a report in the Diamondback, the University of Maryland got their New Coke today. They’re replacing “Fear the Turtle”, one of the most recognizable and endearing college slogans in history with (brace for it):
UNSTOPPABLE STARTS HERE
The article states that this is a “second slogan”, but this sounds like a hedging tactic so they can ease the school into accepting this new slogan. I guess the school needed to rebrand itself to escape the reputation it’s gained from a decade of improving academics, outstanding athletics, and rapid campus expansion and readjust expectations for a new, blander era. Student responses to the article have been overwhelmingly negative. Here’s my take on this new slogan…
THIS SLOGAN BLOWS
I’ll justify that comment if you disagree with me, but for now I’m just going to let it stand on its own. FEAR THE TURTLE!