Friday, March 10, 2006

Diiiiiiiet Coke

Diet coke commercials have always been better the coke commericals-Cindy Crawford, that sexy worker guy. I clearly remember trying to hold the "diet" note as long as the guy playing the piano in a jazzy uber-90s-cool commercial. Yes, you know which one I'm talking about. Or, not. And I coudln't really tell you, I just remember singing diet till I lost my breath.

But these Diet Coke drinkers are in some kind of secret cult, so secret that some of us belong and don't even know it. Think about how you feel when the waiter says, "We have Pepsi, is that ok?" I am not even big soda drinker, but I always have to supress the urge to yell at the poor guy, "No! No, It is NOT ok. Give me my COKE!"

In 3rd grade I gave my Diet Coke-addict teacher a 6-pack (she didn't drink coffee) and holiday coaster as her Christmas present. It got my A's the rest of the year.

In several of my college marketing classes, professors and text books discussed how the Pepsi Challenge threatened Coke to develop the New Coke, which bombed despite marketing research that said it would blow Pepsi out of the water. The only catch was that Coke was already doing this.

Here's the deal: in blind taste tests, Pepsi was also favored over Coke, so Coke developed a formula that was as good as Pepsi's and replaced their old formula. As luck had it, people (this was in the 80s of course) protested this new formula, and Coke brought the less-tasty, but better selling formula back.

A nice little history lesson for why many of us are devasted when we enter a Pepsi institution. Myself included, who actually picked RC Cola (which I have never purchased) during a blind taste test in middle school.


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