The slick video (see end of article) boldly announced Coca-Cola's apparent plans to roll out biodegradable plastic bag packaging shaped like its iconic contour bottle globally to package Coke, after its sales success with cash-conscious consumers in Central and Southern America.
The narrator of the video said that the trend started in El Salvador and spread to other countries in South America, where the 'Coca-Cola Bag' (pictured) proved popular among lower-income consumers unwilling to pay extra for a deposit on a returnable glass bottle.
Coke was traditionally drunk in El Salvador in generic plastic bags, the video stated, since convenience store or street vendors achieved higher sales this way.
Coke denies involvement
The biodegradable bag was a response to this trend, according to the narrator, who described it as an “inexpensive bag…that delivered the full Coca-Cola brand experience, without costing the consumer a cent more”.
But in a statement sent to this publication yesterday, a Coca-Cola spokeswoman denied any involvement with the video.
She said: "Coca-Cola clarifies that currently there is no presentation of Coca-Cola in plastic bag in any country of Central America ('Coca-Cola Bag'). Recently, a video was circulated on different social networks, which suggests the existence of this presentation in the market.
"It is necessary to clarify that The Coca-Cola Company is not the author of the video and is not responsible for its dissemination. The company currently distributes Coca-Cola in Central America countries in cans, plastic PET and glass.
"While Coca-Cola is always looking for new and better ways of satisfying consumer demand, we do not comment on potential new ideas until a decision about their implementation is made."
Still an interesting idea...
BeverageDaily.com was taken in by the hoax, as were outlets such as the Daily Mail and prominent technology site Gizmodo.
Asked about the 'launch' yesterday, Andrew Streeter, director of Pack-Track, part of the Datamonitor Group, told this publication: "I think it's a smart move. In regions such as Southeast Asia, drinks in bags are obviously a way of life when things are economically challenging. They're a big global phenomenon.
"The global roll-out is really interesting. Could it be used at events in first-world countries where there are great concerns about safety? You could use a on-trade style bulk dispense with these bags that have real functionality.
"On a dispense system at events, retail, on the street, by the beach - then I could see that working at a significant cost-saving (since you're stripping either glass of PET bottles out) for brandowner and distributor, because the sheer volume of packaging involved is significantly reduced," he said.
Given that there was no indication as to what the bag was made of, did Streeter have any ideas? "The short answer is 'I don't know'. But I wonder if it is a PLA-based [polyactic] resin. Since it's biodegradable material that narrows the field down quite a lot."