Coca-Cola shelves new white cans amid consumer complaintsCoca-Cola is canning its winter white holiday packaging and relaunching cans in its iconic red motif amid a slew of consumer complaints and confusion.

A month after mounting a high-profile ad blitz for “Arctic Home” cans — regular Coke cans in a white tone featuring a trio of polar bears —  the company has shelved its original plans to keep the campaign going until February.

Instead, it will be launching another batch of Coke cans featuring the polar bears on its original, signature red packaging.

The move comes following negative reaction to the new cans, which were meant to help raise awareness and money to protect the polar bear — the company’s holiday mascot. The initiative is in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund.

Some consumers claim the beverage tastes different and have taken their beef to YouTube conducting blindfolded taste tests, while other drinkers complain the new can is confusing and resembles too much the can for Diet Coke — a potential problem for those with dietary restrictions like diabetes, they say.

Meanwhile, Coca-Cola stopped short of saying the mid-campaign switch-up was caused by consumer complaints and instead passed the move off as “Phase 2” of its promotion, despite the fact that there was no mention of red cans entering the fray in the original press release sent out in October.

More than 1.4 billion white cans were supposed to be distributed in North America between November 1 and February 2012. It’s the first time in the company’s history that the Coke can has undergone a makeover of this kind.

A few weeks following the launch, the company issued a visual guide to consumers who are “used to seeing Coke in [the] iconic red cans.”

The fact sheet highlights the visual differences between Arctic Home and Diet Coke cans, and informs consumers that the white cans will discontinue December 2.

The red cans — which bear the same silver polar bears on the front — will take over the campaign from December 2 to February 2012.