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Coke Zero Vanilla

Sanctioned By WASAW Snack Committee

Reviewed By: Paddy O'Poppycock

Location: Target


WEIGHT: 12 oz can

PRICE: $2.75 + $0.60 deposit for 12-pack

DESCRIPTION OF SNACK: Take the all-American taste of Coca-Cola and tweak it to taste better than Diet Coke but not as good (or as sweet) as Coke tasted to you as a teenager. Then add a faux vanilla taste on top of that and wait for your tongue to sort it all out.


UPSIDE Coke Zero took the beverage industry by storm in 2007, and for many of us finally provided an easy gateway from regular cola to diet. Adding vanilla to the mix makes it even easier by fooling the brain into thinking 'sweet' with every sip. And for anyone who has struggled going from regular to diet, that's a crucial variable. Get over that hurdle, and it can be a successful change for life. So in that sense, Coke Zero Vanilla is like finally taking the dive from SUV (Coke) to a hybrid sedan (Coke Zero), and while you're trying to adjust to the change having the car dealer toss in a free sunroof, Bluetooth functionality and vanilla-flavored floor mats.

DOWNSIDE: Artificial vanilla flavoring comes with an after-taste. It's like Abbott & Costello, Laurel & Hardy, migraines and cursing - they come as a package. Unfortunately, diet beverages also come with an after-taste. So you've essentially got two after-tastes to contend with... and as competitive as after-tastes can be, both want to be the first to draw your tongue's attention. (If only the girls I'd gone to college with had felt the same way.)

Think about it. Your tongue gets hit with two after-tastes, must sort them out, commit them to memory for future sips, and then do its best to never remind your brain of them again. That's a lot to ask of a tongue, but at least in the case of my tongue, it has moved on and the only thing I'm left pondering when drinking a Coke Zero Vanilla is why the can's design looks like a dark zebra or a fancy Godiva truffle.


Video Password: wasaw

About this video

This video was shot while Paddy was staying at a hotel on business. It's his first snack review video. We'd love to say they'll get better - better audio, better edits, better video quality, better-looking snack reviewer. But look at our WASAW site. It's layout hasn't improved since 1999, so don't hold out hope for our videos. Your feedback, of course, is always welcome.


Not sure how I feel about it. It's an odd swirl that seems to be doing its best to downplay the Coca-Cola logo and play up the "Vanilla" font which can best be described as "purposely unpolished" or as I call it, "trying way too hard to appeal to the kids who probably aren't drinking diet cola anyway."


Yes, it's worth trying. If you don't like Coke Zero, the addition of vanilla isn't going to suddenly make this taste magically delicious, though. If you're a Coke Zero fan who enjoys vanilla, you've got nothing to lose and a new diet cola option to gain. Go for it.


Probably not. It's a fine tasting beverage, and the fact it has zero calories is even nicer. But as successful a year as Coke Zero had in 2007, it only captured roughly 1% of the soft drink market. Now add to it a rather polarizing flavor - vanilla - that has already proven to appeal to only a niche audience, and the cards are stacked against Coke Zero Vanilla.

And I've got to say... this is not exactly a manly beverage. The marketing genius of Coke Zero is that it makes it okay for guys to drink a diet soda with pride. The black can, the strength of the Z in Zero, the lack of the word "diet"... and then Coke goes and adds the foo-foo vanilla to the mix. I'm not the manliest of men to start with, but I'm not sure I can picture myself at a restaurant ordering a Coke Zero Vanilla. I might as well ask for a Shirley Temple.


Good question. They launched Coke Vanilla a couple years ago, and despite a big ad budget and Chazz Palminteri as spokesperson, sales were flat and Coke announced it would sunset the brand. Now surprisingly, Coke Vanilla has made an encore... with a different logo font for the "Vanilla" word than originally used - the same font I take a shot at under the "Packaging" category above. Add to that, Coke Zero Vanilla. Whatever the case, this has to mean that Coke feels the only reason Vanilla didn't work the first time was because they used the wrong font. (Because c'mon, there's no way it was Chazz's fault.)

It's either that or Coke ordered so much vanilla artificial flavoring the first go-round, they figured they needed to put it somewhere and in this age of recycling, they tossed it into Coke Zero with the sincere hope that Chazz doesn't notice.

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