The Sneaky Reason Coca-Cola Created Tab Clear

There's a lot that the beverage giant Coca-Cola has managed to achieve as a company over the years. As per the company's website, when Coke was first introduced as a soft drink it was offered at a pharmacy for five cents. John S. Pemberton, the pharmacist behind the drink, didn't really know how to sell it to his customers and didn't make much profit. This changed after the entrepreneur Asa Candler stepped in.

Candler worked hard to get more people talking about the beverage and got sales executives to offer complimentary coupons to people, which caused the brand to take off. While the brand has managed to become a staple of the soda industry, it has faced roadblocks along the way. There was one drink in particular that was a massive fail for Coca-Cola. Per Mental Floss, the company introduced the transparent beverage Tab Clear in the 1990s in a bid to compete with Pepsi in a big way.

Coca-Cola created Tab Clear as a strategic move

According to Mental Floss, the team at Coca-Cola didn't have great expectations for Tab Clear when they created it. Sergio Zyman, the company's chief marketing officer, was confident about introducing Tab Clear and wasn't stressed about it not being a massive hit. He was sure that even if the move didn't work out, it wouldn't hurt Coke as a brand.

Zyman was not just slyly competing with Crystal Pepsi by creating a similar beverage. He also wanted to confuse shoppers when they spotted Crystal Pepsi and Tab Clear at the supermarket. Because Tab Clear was a sugar-free drink, it was bound to make many people wonder whether Crystal Pepsi was also a beverage for those who were trying to be mindful of their sugar intake. 

Crystal Pepsi was a regular beverage with an additional diet version that customers could choose. With so many options, Zyman thought that shoppers would avoid both products. Zyman knew that Tab Clear would not succeed due to the confusion, but neither would Crystal Pepsi. He told writer Stephen Denny in 2011, "Pepsi spent an enormous amount of money on the [Crystal Pepsi] brand and, regardless, we killed it."