The checkered legacy of Tab cola’s gendered marketing

Coca-Cola announced last month that it would discontinue its formerly popular diet soda product Tab, as part of a large-scale culling to streamline the company’s brands. You might have heard of Tab, you might have even enjoyed it—it peaked in demand in the ’70s—but did you know that it was also a bellwether for decades of gendered soda marketing? Since its beginnings, the product has been targeted almost exclusively to women, from its bubblegum pink packaging to its ads riddled with dubious body-shaping claims. But rising demand for low-sugar drinks spawned competing products like Diet Coke which Coca-Cola still markets along distinct gender lines, e.g., securing Marc Jacobs and Taylor Swift co-signs. Jezebel has a bittersweet history of the phenomenon.

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