I’ve always kind of wondered that myself. It’s hard to believe that a group of people would take the best selling soft-drink in the world and attempt to make it taste more like it’s biggest competitor, but it’s possible that it was just a mistake.
I wonder if it was just a scam to divert attention from the changing from sugar to HFCS. I haven’t done any research, but I think all that happened around the same time, because "I was there when it happened".
Again, I just find it hard to believe that anyone would really think the New Coke would be accepted over the Coca-Cola that was still selling better than Pepsi at the time. But, people have done lots of stupid things:
Jimmy Carter was elected President.
Three’s Company was once the top-rated show in America.
Britney Spears is still a star.
People think that cow farts are heating the planet.