Sergio Zyman (born July 30, 1945) is a Mexican marketing executive best known as the marketer behind the failed launch of New Coke now regarded as one of the greatest marketing blunders of all time. A cover story in Fortune Magazine from May 1, 1995 referred to New Coke as the biggest marketing blunder since the launch of Ford's Edsel. New Coke was a reformulation of the original Coca-Cola flavor. After significant consumer opposition the original flavor was reintroduced in just 77 days.
As per Fortune Magazine's 1995 cover story:
- " 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.
Sergio Zyman was most recently a Board of Director of Upstream Worldwide parent company of uSell.com But he has been replaced there and is no longer on the Executive Team.http://www.usell.com/about.htm#Team He was also associated with JC Penney as a Marketing Consultant but was fired by Chief Operating Officer Mike Ullman as per Bloomberg News. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-08-09/ackman-calls-for-ouster-of-j-c-penney-chairman.html
Sergio Zyman is of Mexican Jewish heritage and is originally a native of Mexico City. He attended executive programs at Harvard University and graduate schools in London, Paris and Jerusalem though his professional resume does not list a graduate degree.
- Sellers, Patricia (1995-05-01). "SO YOU FAIL. NOW BOUNCE BACK! - May 1, 1995". Money.cnn.com. Retrieved 2010-06-02.
- "Q&A: Sergio Zyman". Forbes.com. 2004-10-20. Retrieved 2010-06-02.
- Hutsul, Christopher (2005-01-16). "Exactly what was this man thinking?; New Coke tanked, and Sergio Zyman knows why". Pqasb.pqarchiver.com. Retrieved 2010-06-02.
- Johnson, Greg (1998-08-06). "ADVERTISING & MARKETING; Former Coca-Cola Exec Joins Launch Media's Board". Pqasb.pqarchiver.com. Retrieved 2010-06-02.
- Vranica, Suzanne (2005-04-01). "MDC Takes Majority Stake In Sergio Zyman's Firm - WSJ.com". Online.wsj.com. Retrieved 2010-06-02.
- "Sergio Zyman: Coca Cola CMO". Bigspeak.com. Retrieved 2010-06-02.