ATLANTA -- Coca-Cola Co. here is planning to roll out a 20-ounce contoured plastic bottle to most of the country this year, with a shape reminiscent of its 6.5-ounce green-glass Coke bottles.
The company said it plans to replace all its packaging with the design by the end of the decade.
The 20-ounce plastic bottle was successfully test-marketed in Birmingham, Chattanooga, Boston and an area of North Carolina last year, and introduced in the Chicago market in early March as the first step in a nationwide rollout, according to Mark Preisinger, a Coca-Cola spokesman.
It is available in Coke, Diet Coke, Caffeine Free Coke and Caffeine Free Diet Coke. The company plans on using the bottle to hold other products later in the year.
Preisinger said that by the end of 1994, the contoured bottle will constitute 80% to 85% of Coke's distribution.
"Where we have 20-ounce straight walls, the contour will replace them. If a one-liter is more popular in a certain market, there will be opportunities not too far from now to have contour in a variety of different packages. Our chairman said at a securities analyst meeting that his goal is to have all of our packaging contoured by the year 2000," he said.
"We have already test-marketed the two-liter in upstate New York last year, and our intent is to roll that out as well. We are also currently using the image of a contoured bottle on our cans," he said.
The 20-ounce bottles will be available in eight-packs or singles that can be sold at checkout lines, convenience stores and vending machines.
"The contour bottle is a very powerful marketing tool that we have a lot of equity in and we want to use it. It says 'Coca-Cola' to consumers and when they see it they know what's inside is special," he said.
Preisinger said Coca-Cola will heavily market the 20-ounce bottles to consumers, using TV commercials, radio spots and point-of-purchase materials.
"We will sample 2 million teens in the U.S. with just the bottle. We will send out a hip, cool-looking package that will have an empty bottle inside, along with coupons and some other incentives. There is also a radio and teaser campaign in markets before we introduce it," he said.
In Chicago the rollout was accompanied by a half-page four-color newspaper ad with a 50-cents-off coupon.
Preisinger said the 20-ounce bottle will not replace its smaller glass cousins that are available in various sizes throughout the country.