The zero sugar drink, which is targeted at 20 to 29-year-old males, is billed as the company's biggest launch since Diet Coke 22 years ago. It predicts it will add about £161m to the carbonated soft drinks market in the UK within its first year.
A TV advert, breaking in the summer, will support the launch and is expected to be seen by 75% of the UK population in its first week, according to Kieran Hemsworth, operational marketing director. He added that the scale of the campaign would mean that the target audience would see the advert on average 49 times during a four-week period.
According to Hemsworth, Zero will open up a new segment in the cola category and bring in lapsed users. "When we analysed the cola segment we found that people enter it in their teens, with two thirds of the category males and one third females," he said. "Females go to diet variants very easily but males, when they get to a certain age, don't want to switch to Diet Coke because it is a female brand so there is nothing left to buy in cola."
The drink is described as having the taste of original Coca-Cola but without the calories, making it more appealing to a male consumer.
"We launched Diet Coke 24 years ago and sweetener technology has moved on a long way since then, but we have so many loyal customers we don't want to change the taste," said Hemsworth. "But Coke Zero will have a much closer taste to the original."
Following the launch of Zero, CCE will begin the transition of the Z range of Fanta, Sprite, Lilt and Dr Pepper to Zero to add consistency to its portfolio.