Coca-Cola has once again learned that its customers don’t like change. Only unlike the New Coke debacle of the 1980s, this time it had nothing to do with the beverage itself, but rather the cans that hold the famous soda.

Just one month after rolling out the iconic cola in a snow-white can for the holidays, Coke is heeding consumer outcry and pulling them off shelves, replacing them with red holiday cans, instead. Some people complained the white cans looked too much like Diet Coke’s silver cans, while others swore the regular Coke in the newly-designed cans actually tasted different.

Holiday packaging for Coke isn’t new — past cans have featured snowflakes and polar bears, which also appear on this season’s cans, and the 2011 holiday campaign is part of a partnership with the World Wildlife Fund to highlight the threat of global warming to the Arctic habitat of polar bears. This year, Coke will contribute up to $3 million toward conservation efforts.

“The white can resonated with us because it was bold, attention-grabbing” and “reinforced” the campaign theme, says Scott Williamson, a spokesman for the beverage company, adding marketing executives wanted a “disruptive” campaign to get consumers’ attention.

Mission accomplished.

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