Ogilvy helps Schweppes South Africa apologize with disarming humor

Schweppes, from the Coca-Cola Group, changed its bottle and label design a couple of years ago, around the globe. After the design change, it seems people were having great difficulty in differentiating between soda water and tonic water!

Yes, I know that sounds distinctly like #FirstWorldProblems, but it seems to be a big enough problem that a lot of people took to social media to complain. They all complained that they didn’t bother reading the label (which clearly states what the bottle is about) and the color scheme makes it look the same. Result? A lot of people had gin and soda, instead of gin and tonic! Take a look!

The change happened in South Africa last year and it looks like they were annoyed with the change more than other countries. Perhaps the brand was financially impacted too, I presume.

One of South Africa’s better-known RJs posed the query and there were tons of responses agreeing with him!

To address this outrage and to announce that they have gone back to the original packaging design, they got Ogilvy to do a damage control exercise.

Ogilvy could have simply done a ‘We heard you. We have reverted to the older design’ messaging. But, perhaps taking cognizance of the amount of outrage this caused, they went the extra mile. It is bold, seems candid and the self-deprecating tone perhaps assuages the outrage caused with disarming humor! Clever work, I thought 🙂