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Coca-Cola looks to fizz up sales with a new soft-drink flavor targeted at video gamers

Arsenii Palivoda—Getty Images

Coca-Cola is tapping into the lucrative gamer market with the launch of a new limited-edition flavor, Coca-Cola Ultimate.

Created in partnership with Riot Games’ League of Legends, a multiplayer online battle arena game, the new flavor of Coke in meant to encapsulate the thrill of gaming and taste like experience points.

Although what that actually tastes like in real-life remains under wraps.

Consumers will be able to grab a bottle and find out for themselves starting next week, with Ultimate landing on shelves on June 12 in the United States and Canada, and days sooner in other parts of the world.

Behind the strategy

The flavors are not designed to become permanent offerings, Coca-Cola’s CEO James Quincey explained during the Redburn CEO conference in November.

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The soda category has been experiencing sluggish growth for a few years now.

So despite havings slashed its portfolio to focus on its core brands, including Coke, Coca-Cola still has a lot of work to do to build buzz around its flagship product—and launching limited edition flavors is a tried and tested strategy for the brand.

While specific sales figures or financial performance related to previous flavors have been not publicly disclosed, the tactic always generates much noise online and in the press.

So Ultimate should be no different.

What's more, much like its previous limited edition lines that have leveraged partnerships with popular artists to tap into a specific consumer segment—just a few months ago it released a "Coca-Cola Movement' flavor with Grammy award-winning singer Rosalìa—Ultimate forays into the lucrative world of gaming.

Gaming is big business

Gaming is a billion-dollar industry—and brands want in.

Even if gamers aren’t enticed to taste the flavor of “experience points” (which are earned by League of Legends players based on how much time they spend playing the game), Coca-Cola is appealing to the market in various other ways, including a series of exclusive digital experiences.

By scanning the QR code on the relevant Coke bottles and cans, consumers will be transported to the Coca-Cola Creations Hub where they’ll find the Ultimate Emote Generator, an Instagram filter allowing players to view themselves in the style of a League emote.

Plus, some new challenges will be added to League of Legends and players will be able to earn free game rewards.

Whether gamers become long-term fans of Coca-Cola off the back of the marketing campaign is yet to be seen, but similar collaborations have worked for brands in the past.

The energy drink company Red Bull has a similar partnership with the popular game Fortnite to host exclusive in-game events and tournaments.

Most recently, the announcement that MrSavage, an 18-year-old Norwegian gaming influencer, is set to join Redbull as one of their eSports athletes sent fans wild.

Meanwhile, Nike, PlayStation, and the rapper Travis Scott teamed up for the release of a limited edition sneaker back in 2020.

Scott shared a black-and-white video to his then 34.4 million followers on Instagram promoting the extremely exclusive shoe (with just 24 pairs produced) and three years later people are still trying to get their hands on them, with the design fetching thousands in the second-hand market.

This story was originally featured on Fortune.com

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