Soda, pop, cola – depending on where you’re from, you’ve got your own term for a fizzy, artificially sweetened beverage. We all agreed on one thing about these ideas soda companies had, though – they were terrible.
1. Life Savers Soda
While many sodas can taste like drinking liquid candy, actually making liquid candy soda turned into a debacle for the Life Savers company. Despite reportedly faring well in taste tests, customers ignored or avoided its debut in the 1980s. Ironically, one of the complaints those who did try it had was that it was too sweet.
2. Pepsi A.M.
Soda consumption is about many things – one of them being caffeine. During the 1980s – pre-Starbucks – studies showed people were cutting down on their coffee drinking. Pepsi decided that pumping up the caffeine content and introducing Pepsi A.M. as a morning soda would take advantage of that. It went flat and disappeared in less than a year.
3. OK Soda
Advertising – product names, logos, icons – is supposed to generate some kind of response from a person. Naming your product “OK Soda” – well, it’s just OK. And it wasn’t even that for the Coca-Cola product, which tried too hard to be the drink of the disaffected and received a resounding “Meh.”
Soda (or pop, or whatever your term of endearment is) can be called many things – fizzy, bubbly, sweet are some popular adjectives. Chunky isn’t one of those, and really shouldn’t be.
The edible balls floating around in Orbitz were judged by most to be the result of someone consuming their own “texturally enhanced” product and staring at a lava lamp for hours. Like some lava lamps, the Orbitz bottles are collector’s items today.
5. Crystal Pepsi/Tab Clear
Pepsi got a brief leg up on the clear cola market in 1992, when Crystal Pepsi – a soda that looked like water – launched with a huge marketing campaign. Coke responded later the same year with “Tab Clear,” which according to their chief marketing officer was a “suicidal kamikaze effort” to stain the entire concept of clear colas. It worked – both brands were discontinued in six months.
6. Pepsi Blue
Soda companies love to experiment with colors and flavors, thinking they’ll find the next big thing. Pepsi Blue was launched in 2002 to compete with Vanilla Coke. Berry-flavored and very sweet, it was colored with Blue #1, a controversial coloring agent that has been banned in some countries.
7. Dr. Pepper Red Fusion
People who are loyal to their brand are often loyal – to the point of killing other brands because they aren’t the original (more on that later). When Dr. Pepper introduced Red Fusion in 2002, the first new flavor in its 120-year history, it bombed spectacularly. It didn’t stop Dr. Pepper from adding more varieties, though.
8. Coors Rocky Mountain Sparking Water
Coors has bragged for years that it brews its beer with water splashing off the Rocky Mountains. When bottled water started becoming popular, they decided to skip the barley and hops and bring the water – complete with lemon-lime and cherry flavors – directly to the people.
The people responded by saying, “Stay in your lane, Coors,” and the water went back into the beer.
9. Coca-Cola BlāK
There is coffee, and there is cola – and the twain really should not ever meet, let alone mate. Coke tried to create this ill-fated romance in 2006, introducing Coca-Cola BlāK in France before bringing it to the United States. Since the French know how to drink coffee, they used sugar in their version, while the American version included high fructose corn syrup, aspartame and acesulfame potassium.
The divorce happened quickly and relatively painlessly, and Coke stopped selling the drink in the U.S. in 2008.
10. New Coke
You didn’t think we were going to list all these and not include the biggest carbonated blunder of them all, did you? The infamous New Coke was launched in 1985 to help fight off Pepsi, but it failed completely and utterly. The old recipe was brought back within three months, and New Coke popped its last bubble in 2002.