OK Soda: So What WAS The Real Deal?

OK Soda was a strange soda. Test marketed on college campuses all over the nation, the resulting mix did not test well. Every review I read up on it talked about “Suicide Soda;” a concoction in which the average drinker would get any number of different sodas and, as they drank up their glasses, mix up what was left until what remained was a nondescript liquid of a nondescript color and low carbonation with a taste that could best be described as “nondescript” (you get the idea, I hope). I once joked (after doing the final mix of my favorite version of Suicide Soda involving Mello Yello, Fanta Orange, Fanta Cherry and Caffeine Free Coke. Don’t ask why, but only the Caffeine Free Coke would do.) that mixing all the stuff together would create some sort of superchemical that would destroy your brain, freeze your heart mid-beat and turn your testicles into a pair of oily puddles.

I remember liking the soda for the first two bottles, but after the fifth bottle I unable to finish the bottle. The unstable taste (You’d go from “nothing” to “yuck” to “most perfect soft drink ever” to “nothing” halfway through a twenty ounce bottle) eventually settled down on “yuck” and I’d eventually avoid the poor student employees trying to give out the stuff to others.

The soda disappeared from everywhere but the net soon after.

Good, you say? Maybe not…

Mr. Dolce (my guess: he’s probably gone on to a career in Middle Management by now) has it that the CIA hired Coca-Cola to try out a little experiment in behavior control. Throw out an odd soda with oddly hip graphics complete with text that worked with each other to instill a certain mind-set that was more congenial with a government out to control people’s actions, and maybe people will buy it. Even if the soda sucks — heck, maybe the soda was supposed to suck; disappear the soda before people figure out what’s going on and maybe the kids will change without them even thinking of what’s going on with them.

Joshua Glenn goes a bit further. In The Baffler, he creates a theory where William Kristol (Chief of Staff for Dan Quayle back in 1992) creates a soda whose sole purpose was to drug a generation staring down a barrel of reduced expectations into accepting that this was OK. The students would open the bottle or can, drink a couple of gulps down, read the generic piece of the “OK Manifesto” on the can or bottle, and as the stuff was drunk down their minds would be receptive to the words of OKness. Then, after a few weeks of tasting great, the stuff would suddenly become crappy and die a disgraceful death before entering the marketplace; while the ideas and beliefs would just find themselves embedded in one’s head, unable to be removed because one doesn’t believe them in the first place or know how they got there.

This would explain a few things:

  1. Like why the stuff varied at first, then turned yucky. Most sodas that die on the vine don’t suck (Pepsi Blue being the prime exception), but outstay their welcome. Those of us who like the pop eventually grow tired of the novel taste and eventually they go back to the old stalwarts. It’s rare that flavors change, never mind in such a disastrous way; but that’s what happened to OK soda.
  2. Why it only appeared on college campuses.
  3. Why it went through an extended “try me” period (with lots of free samples, let me add), only to disappear.

Then there is the “OK Manifesto:”

  1. What’s the point of OK? Well, what’s the point of anything?
  2. OK Soda emphatically rejects anything that is not OK, and fully supports anything that is.
  3. The better you understand something, the more OK it turns out to be.
  4. OK Soda says, “Don’t be fooled into thinking there has to be a reason for everything.”
  5. OK Soda reveals the surprising truth about people and situations.
  6. OK Soda does not subscribe to any religion, or endorse any political party, or do anything other than feel OK.
  7. There is no real secret to feeling OK.
  8. OK Soda may be the preferred drink of other people such as yourself.
  9. Never overestimate the remarkable abilities of “OK” brand soda.
  10. Please wake up every morning knowing that things are going to be OK.

Remember: all this for a soda that didn’t even make it to the marketplace.


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