Sergio Zyman is a marketing professional from Mexico known for marketing the fashion drink ‘Coca Cola.’ He is even more known for the failed launch of New Coke now regarded as one of the greatest marketing blunders of all time. After significant consumer opposition the original flavor was reintroduced in just 77 days. Fortune Magazine’s 1995 cover story reads as follows, according to Wikipedia:
Zyman, then head of U.S. marketing, was coming off his enormously successful introduction of diet Coke when he was assigned day-to-day responsibility for top-secret Project Kansas in 1984. The zealous Mexican insisted that Coca-Cola (or Co-Coola, as he pronounces it) must act boldly to reverse its 20-year market-share decline vs. Pepsi. Zyman, a former Pepsi marketer, argued that the correct strategy was to replace 98-year-old Coke with a better-tasting cola, label it New Coke, and blare the news–which is exactly what the company did one decade ago this April. Zyman’s greatest error, which some attribute to ego, was that he and his team failed to present the option of keeping old Coke on the market.
Zyman’s work experience includes tenures with Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Procter & Gamble, and his own firm Zyman Group. He is also known for helping introduce Diet Coke in 1982 and conceiving Fruitopia in 1994.
Since leaving the Coca-Cola Company Zyman launched a consulting firm called the Zyman Group that he sold to MDC Partners Inc., a Canadian advertising firm holding company, for around $60 million in April 2005. He was replaced there as Chairman by Scott Miller, formerly with McCann Erickson and the Sawyer/Miller Group and is no longer part of the Zyman Group’s management team – though he is listed as the founder of the company on its website. The Zyman Group is no longer in business. He has written four books to date on his experiences in marketing and advertising the last one Renovate before you Innovate written with Armin Brott was published in 2004. Zyman is currently a paid professional public speaker, and can be booked. He can be seen in this role on Youtube.com as a paid speaker at the Kitchen Bath Industry Show (KBIS) held between April 14–18, 2010 in Chicago.