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Archive for April 23rd, 2008

The Real Thing.  I’d like to teach the world to sing…  Have a Coke and a Smile.  Coke is it!  The slogans are as familiar to us as the bright red cans.  And for years, Coke had been it.  Since the emergence of carbonated drinks in the first half of the Twentieth Century, Coca-Cola had enjoyed a dominant position in the soft drink hierarchy.  More than half of all soda purchases were Coke.  But that began to change and, by the early 1980’s, the brand was rapidly losing market share to its biggest rival, Pepsi-Cola.

So, the powers-that-be steering the corporate ship at Coke decided on a new course.  The original Coke formula was put away, a “new-and-improved” Coke was created and, on April 23, 1985, it was introduced to the public.

Initial positive reaction very quickly gave way to intense negative criticism for Coca-Cola.  Emotional ties to the original flavor caused an immediate, and powerful, uprising among fans of the brand.  Angry phone calls flooded Coke’s switchboards, hundreds of thousands of people signed petitions, and Pepsi had an advertising field day, suggesting that “The Real Thing” apparently wasn’t so real after all.

Faced with brand mutiny from its proponents and commercial crucifixion from its opposition, the original formula for Coke was quickly dusted off and, a few months later, re-introduced as “Coke Classic”.  And all was right with the world again.

“New Coke” would continue to hold a place on shelves for a few years but, by the early 1990’s, it was history…and few Coke diehards were sorry to see it go.

It’s pretty much the only beverage for me, and that should be all the endorsement you need.  Coke Classic (well, just “Coke” to me) is it!!

Recommended Activity:  Do I even need to write it?  I normally have a Coke on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  But today, I’m enjoying one to celebrate the world’s greatest beverage, and to remember the Great Calamity that Almost Was.  So, at 3pm CDT,  I’ll be imbibing my most favorite drink.  Have a Coke (or two or three) with me.

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