Tag Archive | crazy marketing schemes

America Meets White Can Coke, Summarily Rejects It

“You can’t change something that’s classic,” seventeen year old Wisoncsin native Mel Cyr told The Wall Street Journal in response to the recent appearance of regular Coke in white cans reminiscent of the brand’s Diet Coke packaging. Coca-Cola’s agreed to bring back the red can we’ve been so conditioned into loving, but there’s still some debate as to whether or not the color is all the company changed. Some seasoned soda drinkers claim the white can Coke tastes, for lack of a better word, “funky.” Coca-Cola claims they didn’t tamper with Coke Classic’s formula, but since when are we supposed to believe a multi-national beverage conglomerate?

I tracked down a few white can Cokes in my neighborhood this morning, and as someone who is more familiar with Coke than most of his relatives I can assure you the soft drink in these cans offers a lighter, less intense flavor of Coca-Cola. It doesn’t taste like Diet Coke, mind you—there’s none of that aspartamy chemical swish. The stuff’s just got less bite than real Coke. It tastes like they upped the sugar and lessened the, uh, whatever it is that makes Coke so bitter. I don’t want to use the “P” word in describing this Yuletide curiosity, but I’d understand if you felt that way after pouring some down your gullet.

Of course, a Coke product that tastes similar to their main competitor harkens back to the 1985 New Coke debacle, an episode regular readers know is one of my obsessions. Is white can Coke leftover New Coke that the company had previously banished to remote Micronesian islands? Is Coke in such dire financial straights that they decided to re-introduce New Coke covertly for the handful of Americans who actually preferred it to Coke Classic? Did somebody make an “uh-oh” at the Coke plant, accidentally whipping up a batch of New Coke for the next two months instead of the regular stuff? Obviously I cannot answer these questions before I take a road trip to Atlanta with a private investigator.

In the meantime, can we get a lobby going to start calling this stuff “Honky Coke?” Is that offensive to people from Newport, Rhode Island? Get back at me on that one, Internet.

More On The Richard Nixon / Robocop Summit

nixonmeetsrobocop

Okay, I don’t know the full story here, but according to various sources, disgraced former president Richard Nixon was hired in 1987 by the makers of Robocop to help promote the film’s home video release. Why, I have no idea. Was Gerald Ford not available? Out of all the former presidents, I think, Gerald Ford had the most in common with Robocop. Both of them talked like computers and made dumb jokes. Also, I’m pretty sure Gerald Ford accidentally blew up a gas station in Detroit once trying to apprehend a criminal (that happened the same day of the “M*A*S*H” finale, though, so it didn’t get much press).

But I digress. What Richard Nixon specifically did to help promote the arrival of Robocop on VHS / Laserdisc isn’t immediately clear. I’m guessing he went on “Meet The Press” or something and slipped in a few quotes from the movie during his interview? Maybe he went on a tour of video stores the week it came out, shaking hands and doing his awesome Robocop impression. I don’t know. I was eight at the time and not really paying much attention to promotional campaigns for hyper-violent Paul Verhoeven movies. Alas, the website for the Nixon Library in California offers surprisingly little concerning this chapter in RMN’s life (don’t worry—I’ve already sent them an e-mail).

What I can tell you is that Nixon donated the money he earned from pimping Robocop to the Boy’s & Girl’s Club of America; this clearly prompted the grateful organization to set up some kind of awkward promotional event wherein Tricky Dick was simultaneously thanked and introduced to an unknown jag-off in a Robocop costume. Thus, the picture resting above all this text. Again I will point out how friggin’ excited Nixon looks to finally be meeting Robocop in the flesh chrome.

“Oh my GOODNESS! You CAME! I didn’t think you’d be able to make it! Oh, wow. Will you sign my autograph book?”

I can see how Nixon may have been way into Robocop. Strong, unyielding central figure takes charge in dangerous environment, scares just as many people as he helps. That was the basic plot of Nixon’s favorite film of all-time, Patton. There was one thing Patton didn’t have, though—a guy getting melted by toxic waste and then torn apart by a speeding car. That part was sick, bro. Totally sick.

BONUS: An unrelated Japanese fried chicken commercial from the 80s featuring Robocop.

Note the violin perched next to the TV. I’d pay a thousand dollars to watch Robocop play the violin.