Soda Explosion!

Hey everyone, Kenneth is back with more sparkling, bubbly soda goodness!

What is the reason behind why we love soda so much?

Is it the neurologically addictive properties of processed sugar? The bubbly fizziness that tickles our taste buds? The burn of the acidity?

Maybe it is all of those things, but for me I think it is memory.

You will forgive me if I wax personal for a minute, but my love affair with soda (and other things that are dangerous without moderation) has roots in family. Maybe it does for you too?

I remember my Dad would come home from work every friday with a cold 6 pack of Coca Cola for my two brothers and I. We would each get two that were ours to do with as we saw fit (and I say that because in biblical Jacob and Esau fashion I would drink one and barter the other one to my competing brothers to take one of my chores or some other desirous thing). My brothers would gulp their cans down within an hour at the least, but I always savored mine.

I remember when my mom’s sister was killed in a car crash, which was tough for all of us. After the service I sat outside under a tree with my mom over a pair of cokes as she told me, with tears, how amazing my aunt was to grow up with. I think I learned to really appreciate my two dumb brothers (one of them designs advanced robotics now, the other is a lawyer, but they were dumb when we were kids) much more than I might have without that talk and those cokes.

One thing that really stands out and always will, for obvious reasons, is when my boyfriend in high school was killed and I was injured because he was driving drunk. That isn’t something you get over, you carry it with you, it just fades over time.

When I got out of the hospital and after the funeral the football team held a rally in the gym, where they vowed that no one would drink a drop of alcohol until that senior class graduated. As an alternative they managed to get a grant from the Coca Cola Company to stock the school with Coke as an alternative which were free to all students! That was huge to me and a lot of people as well!

Did everyone stick to it? Doubtfully. But there were no other drinking related deaths for two years after that, so it certainly made a difference!

Soda (Coke in particular) has been with me through ups and downs, tragedies and celebrations and everything in between. And that my friends is the best kind of branding.

The Big Dogs

As things have changed over the years in the FBI (food and beverage industry) we as consumers ride the tide of what works, what is nasty, and what becomes second nature.

Much of what we enjoy on a regular basis today regarding soda is the result of a strange and in many ways dangerous time.

For example, did you know that post world war two Europe was a make it or break it time for Coca Cola to become the worldwide leader that is today? European and even soviet contracts were a way for the company to expand to a global market desperate for some sweet relief from the post war blues.

coca cola

Feels Good!

A few decades later we saw the “Cola Wars” (pity they didn’t play on the Star Wars theme more during their commercial battles!)

I was just a kid but I remember those commercials a little bit (and have watched them when I got started doing this). Blind taste tests were the thing!

Pepsi vs Coca Cola! Some of the media stuff from posters to bill boards, not to mention the commercials, was hilarious!

And what was the reason behind Coca Cola’s domination? Branding.

Possibly the world’s largest scale branding project in history, spanning over a century at this point, the people at Coke set out to have a bottle in everyone’s hand. Want proof of this prolific marketing?

Go to ebay and type in “coca cola vintage merchandise.”

You won’t believe the massive amount of stuff you will find! And some of that stuff is truly strange!

And some of the flavors! I particularly want to try Coca Cola Blak, which is a Coke infused with “coffee essence.” It sounds exciting and scary at the same time, like knowing that running a tri-athilon would be good for your heart, but could also make it explode!

Green Tea, Garlic (um…why?), Black Cherry Vanilla, Diet Coke with Bacon (though that one could be a hoax); craziness!

Check in next time for more soda strangeness!