Doing a little early morning surf here at work I came across this new product, a coffee/cola concoction to be introduced in 2006, courtesy of The Coca Cola corporation. I'm not sure whether or not Mad magazine is still around, but if it is, I imagine they'll get a lot of mileage out of "Coca Cola Bleeach!"
I don't imagine I'll be drinking much of it, after that initial bottle to satisfy my curiosity. It just doesn't seem like the kind of thing one sips while perusing the Westword, or gulps first thing in the morning to get the ol' bowels rumbling. I'm not really much of a soft drink person, either. As far as the Cola Wars are concerned, I'm Sweden. I had to declare neutrality in '85 when they brought Max Headrom and Michael J. Fox to go head to head for Coke and Pepsi, respectively. A fourteen year old kid just couldn't be expected to decide between those two media giants. And as much as I love my caffeine, I'm not a masochist. The caffeine content in cola is actually pretty low; your average soft drink is actually supplemented with caffeine that runs off coffee beans when they are being processed. When I used to work for Boyer's Coffee, the owner's prized possession was a meteorite-sized white crystal of pure, uncut caffeine, resembling nothing so much as some last remaining remnant of Krypton.
Apparently, this new product is similar to "Georgia", a canned coffee drink that Coca Cola distributes in Japan. Nifty design and all, but my guess is that Sweet Georgia isn't fit to starch "Hello, Boss's" shirt.
Sure, a new Coke product is just the sort of manipulative, calculated marketing ploy that an local coffee house lovin', indie entertainment appreciating guy like me is supposed to rant against, but I just can't help but get wrapped up in the hype. Maybe it's the fact that my father, sister and I all work in varying capacities in the advertising field; I've cultivated a life long fascination with brand loyalty and logo fetishism. Regardless of your feelings toward capitalism, an individual is defined as much by what brand breakfast cereal they eat as their religion. Resistance, as the Borg say, is Futile. Even if you tear all the labels from your clothes, that just says that much more about you.
So the question is, just who is it this product is being marketed to? That picture is kind of small, but I do believe that's an accent mark above the lower case "a"... surely the correct pronunciation isn't "Blake"? Is there some emerging Neo-Romantic poet subculture that they're trying to exploit? Does this mean we can look forward to "Lord Byron's Dew"?
This isn't the first time such a combination has been attempted. I remember tasting "Pepsi Kona", Kona being one of those holy grail varietals, along with Jamaica Blue Mountain, that a coffee lover gets from their relatives when they return from their vacation. It's supposed to be exquisite, but it actually taste like pee.
No doubt the drink is a response to Red Bull and Go Fast! energy drinks. But I have a theory that it'll be marketed more old-school, for the emo kids who are too cool for gym class and all that extreme sport stuff, caffeine being more accessible than exotic, herbal sounding ingredients like "taurine".
The last time the Coca Cola company made such a concerted effort to tap into the zeigeist was with OK soda. This was during the "clear" ara of such products as Zima and Crystal Pepsi, which tried to cut in, I guess, on the bottled water industry by offering a product that looked like water, without all those uncool health benefits.
OK was a full frontal assault on us disenfranchised ol' Generation X'ers. The taste was like a devil may care "Suicide" from our youth, but without all the fun of mixing and matching at the soda fountain of the Royal Fork Buffet. The backlash was palpable among the "alternative" kids. Why this was straw that broke the camel's back, when The Gap was selling de-sleeved flannel shirts, and a discount shoe store's advertising campaign for their knock off Doc Martens was "Doesn't it feel funky, doesn't it feel grungy, to Payless?", is beyond me. OK at least had built in street cred, with the cool design by "Ghost World" creator Daniel Clowes. If I had an old can, I'd put it up as cubicle flair right now.
The marketing for "Blak" doesn't appear to be quite as brazen, but I doubt it'll be around any longer than OK was. If anybody is taking bets, I'll put odds that Coke's new coffee drink will be off the Hell-Mart shelves by 07.
But maybe that's just my Generation X cynicism talking.
About the Author
6 years ago