Coca-Cola's new 'TikTok' branding couldn't be more Gen Z if it tried

There's a fine line between cool and "How do you do, fellow kids?" – and brands often walk that tightrope in their attempts to appeal to Gen Z. From weird aesthetics to Y2K tech, we've been repeatedly told over the last couple of years that the TikTok generation is into retro, gaudy design. Enter Coca-Cola's new 'TikTok exclusive' flavour.

The brand has released all sorts of weird and wonderful flavours under its 'Creations' umbrella, giving us the 'taste' of everything from pixels to AI. The latest is 'Happy Tears', being sold exclusively through TikTok. Putting aside the practical irritations of shopping on TikTok, the presentation of the whole thing somehow manages to look very much like it was conceived in a boardroom.

Coca-Cola Happy Tears

(Image credit: Coca-Cola)

From the aphoristic 'stickers' to the oversized lowecase text – via the kindness themed "hype box", the whole thing is so TikTok it hurts. Said box contains two cans of Happy Tears, text stickers, a collectible t-shirt, and tissues. As for the taste, Delish describes it as "slightly floral, vaguely fruity, and entirely unique." Which sounds kind of nice?

@cocacola

♬ original sound - Coca-Cola

But it seems not everyone is hating on the new marketing stunt. Over on LinkedIn, social media expert Nathan Jun Poekert is impressed, highlighting in particular the choice to offer the product exclusively through TikTok. "Could be wrong here but Coca Cola could be the FIRST major brand to ever launch a product exclusively on TikTok Shop. This further solidifies TikTok's power to both be an awareness and acquisition platform... Coca Cola made a genius decision to capitalize on TikTok Shop by likely creating an independent POS exclusively for these drops and now positioning their TikTok to be the SOURCE for this merch (it's really REALLY genius)."

So, time will tell if the TikTok exclusive actually proves a hit. If it doesn't, it will at least give some ammunition to Pepsi, which seems hellbent on targeting Coca-Cola in its advertising right now.

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Daniel John
Senior News Editor

Daniel John is Senior News Editor at Creative Bloq. He reports on the worlds of art, design, branding and lifestyle tech (which often translates to tech made by Apple). He joined in 2020 after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more.