Archive for sodapalooza

1992 USA Olympic Dream Team 20th Anniversary collector cans from 7-Up

Posted in basketball, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, NBA, pop culture, soda, sports with tags , , , , , , , on June 26, 2012 by Paxton

Sodapalooza

This summer is the 20th anniversary of the 1992 Olympic Men’s basketball team. The original NBA “Dream Team”.  To commemorate this anniversary, 7-up products have a set of 7 collector cans featuring 5 of the legendary team’s members.

2012 Dream Team collector cans

Here is the lineup of cans available.

2012 7-up cans

The five players chosen to represent the “Dream Team” for this set are Magic Johnson (Sunkist), Larry Bird (7-Up), Patrick Ewing (A&W), Scottie Pippen (Sun Drop) and David Robinson (Canada Dry Ginger Ale).  As I said, there are only 5 of the 12 players represented, but there are 7 different cans.  Consequently, Magic Johnson is also on Diet Sunkist and David Robinson is also on Welch’s Grape.  I’m surprised they didn’t go for the full player roster and have 12 collectible player cans.  When I found out about this I was actually concerned that I would have to hunt down 12 more collector cans so soon after my last hunt for cans (see Avengers cans) just ended.  I need not worry now.  I’d like to get all of these cans but I think I’m only getting the Bird and Magic cans.  And I’ll probably get only the Diet Sunkist Magic can.

Larry Bird can Magic Johnson can

Honestly, I’m not surprised about Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley being absent from this set.  They have separate likeness deals that have always made including them in NBA deals dicey.  Jordan rarely showed up as a playable character in NBA Live games in the 90s.  However, why not include cans of Stockton and Malone, Chris Mullin, Clyde “The Glide” Drexler or Christian Laettner (not really missed, btw)?  I’m very saddened by the absence of Stockton and Malone especially.  I was a big fan of the Jazz in the late 80s – early 90s.  I’ve even seen them play at The Delta Center in Salt Lake City.  Next to Larry Bird, John Stockton is my favorite NBA player of all time.  I had planned on just getting the Stockton, Bird and Magic cans, but now, like I said, I’ll have to settle for only the Bird and Magic cans.  Which is fine by me, but I would have really liked to have a Stockton can.

So, the actual anniversary of the selection of the initial 10 Dream Team players is September 21.  I’ll be back then with a small retrospective on the team.  I had planned on doing this retrospective anyway, but it’s nice to see 7-Up, ESPN and the NBA have also remembered the anniversary of this most historic basketball team.

Oh, and NBATV has also been running an hour and a half documentary called The Dream Team.  It covers the selection, practices and tournament play of the team with footage and interviews.  It’s been running several times a day every few days.  Check it out if you get the chance.  Here’s the trailer.

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Countdown to Avengers: A look at The Avengers collectible soda cans

Posted in comic books, Dr Pepper, Mountain Dew, movies, soda with tags , , , , , , , on April 25, 2012 by Paxton

Sodapalooza

Countdown to Avengers is a blog crossover between Nerd Lunch, To The Escape Hatch and the Cavalcade of Awesome. Together we are reviewing all of the solo Avengers movies as well as some of the comics and cartoons. It’s all leading up to the release of The Avengers on May 4 where we will all review the new movie.

The Avengers

So, by this point we have talked about our thoughts on most, if not all, of the movies that lead up to The Avengers.  Now,  I want to look at some of the ancillary promotions for The Avengers.  I’m “the soda guy” of the group so I’m a complete sucker for any big pop culture movie/soda promotion (see my write ups on Star Wars soda promotions herehere and here).  So today, I’m going to discuss the big Marvel soda promotions that have happened from all of the Marvel movies including Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America and the upcoming The Avengers.  Unfortunately, there were no soda promotions for the original Iron Man or The Incredible Hulk in 2008.  So, let’s start with the current Avengers promotion going on with Dr Pepper.

Dr Pepper Avengers 24 pack Dr Pepper Assemble the Team promotion

Currently, Dr Pepper has a promotion called “Assemble the Team”.  The promotional packaging is starting to show up en mass at retail locations everywhere.  The promotion consists of 8 collector cans featuring the principles of The Avengers (Nick Fury, Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hawkeye, Black Widow and Hulk) as well as one can featuring the film’s villain (Loki).  Here’s an official picture of the set.

Avengers can set

The promotion is spread among the four main Dr Pepper brands.  The character/brand breakdown (as shown in the right image above, click to make bigger) looks like this:

Dr Pepper – Captain America, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor
Diet Dr Pepper – Hawkeye, Black Widow
Dr Pepper Cherry – Nick Fury
Diet Dr Pepper Cherry – Loki

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A Crystal Pepsi Retrospective on its 20th birthday

Posted in advertising, Pepsi, pop culture, soda with tags , , , , , on April 12, 2012 by Paxton

Sodapalooza

Today is the 20th birthday of Crystal Pepsi. So in honor of our see through friend, I thought I’d take a look back at one of the more maligned soda drinks of our time.

In the ’90s there was a movement within America that equated clarity with purity. Pepsi decided to jump on this trend and create a colorless decaffeinated soda. Pepsi hoped that people would notice a colorless soda above other darker sodas and think that it’s more pure due to it’s colorless appearance and assume it would have less artificial coloring. Pepsi dubbed their new soda Crystal Pepsi and released it and a diet version to 9 test markets in early 1992.

After the drink faired well in test markets, a huge marketing campaign was developed and Crystal Pepsi was released nationwide in April 1992 to huge fanfare. The commercials were shown during Super Bowl XXVII. The Van Halen single “Right Now” was used on the commercials and the tagline for the soda was, “You’ve never seen a taste like this!”

Many people don’t remember, but Crystal Pepsi did well the first year grabbing almost 1% of the soda market. It did well enough to cause Coca-Cola to develop and release Tab Clear in December 1992. In 1993, however, the interest waned. Crystal Pepsi didn’t taste any different than regular dark Pepsi, which confused people because clear colas usually have a citrus taste. Sales dropped off and Pepsi pulled it off shelves. It was quickly reformulated into Crystal by Pepsi which was still colorless, but had a citrus taste like everyone expected.

By then, though, the damage was done and Pepsi canceled the soda in America in late 1993 – 1994. Crystal Pepsi continued to sell well in Europe for another year or so but was eventually canceled there also. The Crystal Clear concept quickly became a joke and was mocked on late night talk shows and eventually in a classic Saturday Night Live commercial, Crystal Gravy (via Redux).

PepsiCo quickly moved on and Crystal Pepsi eventually became a shameful footnote in the company’s history (a la New Coke).  As a special promotion, however, Pepsi did release a Pepsi Clear in Mexico in 2005. Presumably, it used the same Crystal Pepsi formula.  I’m unsure if it had a citrus flavor or not.

More soda history:
1. Misunderstood: The Saga of New Coke
2. The Story of OK Soda
3. Pepsi Patio: The Secret Origin of Diet Pepsi

Pepsi’s 1999 Star Wars Episode I collector bottles

Posted in Mountain Dew, movies, Pepsi, pop culture, soda, Star Wars with tags , , , , , on February 16, 2012 by Paxton

Sodapalooza

Star Wars Pepsi display

The other day, I took a look at the 1999 Pepsi Star Wars Episode I collector cans. At the same time as the collector cans, Pepsi also put Star Wars characters on their bottles.  They were the same characters that are on the cans, but the bottles included soda flavors not involved in the can promotion.  And only one character per flavor.

Here are the main Pepsi Star Wars character bottles.

Pepsi and Pepsi One

This is the regular Pepsi and Pepsi One bottle labels. Anakin was on all the Pepsi bottles as he was the #1 character can. C3PO was the only one on Pepsi One bottles and he was also on the Pepsi One cans.

Diet Pepsi and Mtn Dew

These are the Diet Pepsi and Mountain Dew bottles featuring Queen Amidala and Darth Maul.  They both were also on those respective cans.

Diet Mt Dew and Wild Cherry Pepsi

Diet Mt Dew and Wild Cherry Pepsi were not a part of the collector can promotion.  Padme was originally on Diet Pepsi cans and Capt Panaka was on Mountain Dew cans.

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Pepsi’s 1999 Star Wars Episode I collector cans

Posted in movies, nostalgia, Pepsi, pop culture, soda, Star Wars with tags , , , , , , on February 14, 2012 by Paxton

Sodapalooza

Episode I character cans

This week, I’m looking at many of the Episode I promotions.  Yesterday I looked at some of the current promotions for the 3D release of Star Wars Episode I.  Today, I’m going to go back in time to 1999 and look at the original Pepsi Star Wars collector can promotion during the original release of Episode I.  Being a soda enthusiast as well as a Star Wars enthusiast any cross promotion between the two is a huge deal for me.  So this giant Episode I promotion is one of my favorites.

Pepsi’s 24 collector character cans were the huge promotion everyone probably remembers even to this day. There were 24 character cans in the entire set.  There were 8 Pepsi and Mt Dew cans and 4 Diet Pepsi and Pepsi One cans.  Pepsi One was newly released in 1999.

Ep 1 pepsi cans

I actually bought cases of Pepsi, Mtn Dew, Pepsi One and Diet Pepsi to get all the cans. Cans were released in waves (see the list here) every 2-3 weeks and each 12 and 24 pack of cans only contained one character.  So, obviously, like everyone else, I wound up with a ton of extras.    I remember the very last character can I needed to complete the set was the Diet Pepsi with the Battle Droid.  It took months to find it but I finally did and had to buy a 24 pack of cans to get it.  The pic above is, I believe, a salesman’s sample of the complete 24 can set.  There are no tops on those cans.  I acquired this a few years after Episode I.  It came together in a lot with a bunch of Pepsi promo material, the cool black Pepsi can holder you see holding the cans in the pic and the cool Pepsi Destiny can (which I’ll discuss in a minute).

Inserted randomly into cases of these character cans was a chase Gold Yoda can.  If you found one, you could send it in to receive $20.

Gold Yoda can

Each soda flavor had it’s own Gold Yoda can, so in actuality there is a set of four Gold Yodas, one each for Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Mtn Dew and Pepsi One.  Pepsi One being the most rare.

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Nerd Lunch Episode 19: Drill Down on Soda

Posted in Coca Cola, Mountain Dew, Pepsi, pop culture, soda with tags , , , , , , , , on January 12, 2012 by Paxton

Nerd Lunch Podcast

Episode 19 is out for those following along. This week we are again joined by Shawn Robare from Branded in the 80s. this week the guys and I discuss a topic that is near and dear to my heart. Soda.

New CokeCherry Vanilla Dr Pepper

Pepsi Ice Cucumber

As you know, I talk about soda A LOT on this blog. I’m a big soda enthusiast so this is a fun episode for me. We don’t touch on the big topics like New Coke or Crystal Pepsi in any type of depth, but we do mention them. Honestly, discussing those two soda disasters could take an entire episode on its own.  But we discuss many other sodas.  We talk about our personal favorites, some favorites that have been cancelled as well as a nice discussion on the availability of Coke and Pepsi (or non-availability) in restaurants.

Download this episode from iTunes or listen to it on Feedburner. And yes, we are still on the Zune Marketplace.

Fizzy Failures: 12 Discontinued sodas

Posted in Coca Cola, Mountain Dew, New Coke, OK Soda, Pepsi, pop culture, soda with tags , , , , , , on November 10, 2011 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest banner

A few years ago I wrote two articles for the Archie McPhee website Monkey Goggles. They also republished two other articles I wrote here (Glorious Glass and Origins of Our Favorite Toys).  It was a fun little site with quirky humor/pop culture articles and I was glad to contribute.  My buddy Shawn over at Branded in the 80s also wrote a few articles for the site.

Anyway, it seems that the Monkey Goggles website has stopped updating.  There haven’t been any new articles for the last year or so (since editor Geoff Carter left).  So, like Shawn, I decided to archive my articles here before they are swallowed by the Internet.  Today, you are looking at the first all-new article I wrote for the site.  It’s about failed soda.

The Cola Wars of the ’80s and ’90s really brought about a lot of competitive creativity between Pepsi and Coke (and to a lesser degree, 7-Up). They threw whatever soda flavor they could conceive of against the wall to see what would stick. Some worked (Cherry Coke, Mountain Dew Code Red), and some blew up in their faces like a novelty cigar (New Coke, Crystal Pepsi).

Instead of marveling at the thrills of victory, let’s wallow in the agony of their failures. Here’s a list of some of the most spectacular soda failures from the long history of the Cola Wars.

New Coke

New Coke – No list like this one is complete without mentioning the Godfather of all soda failures. Released in 1985, New Coke caused the collective soda-drinking world to lose its damn mind. Coke drinkers actually tried to levy a class action lawsuit against Coke for releasing the new formula. (Seriously.)

It was a fiasco. Coke was forced to bring back Coke Classic not three months after releasing New Coke. After the return of Classic Coke, New Coke was re-branded Coke II and then died a slow death in 1992. The “Classic” moniker still exists on the can to this day. (Read a more complete history of New Coke here).

Crystal Pepsi

Crystal Pepsi – Apparently Pepsi wanted in on all the hate mail and lawsuits Coke got for New Coke. So they decided that they too would try something new. In 1992, Crystal Pepsi was released with great fanfare, including a high-profile commercial during that year’s Super Bowl.

Unfortunately, Crystal Pepsi failed to live up to expectations. A clear cola that didn’t have a lemon-lime taste frightened and confused the soda-drinking public. It became more a novelty than a soda to be taken seriously. Many people don’t remember, though, that for its first year Crystal Pepsi sold well enough to grab an 11% market share (and caused Coke to release the next item on this list). After that banner year, however, the bottom dropped out and Crystal Pepsi’s sales plummeted.

As a last ditch effort, Pepsi reformulated Crystal Pepsi with a lemon-lime flavor and re-branded it as Crystal by Pepsi. Too little, too late.

TaB Clear
TaB Clear – Coke released this clear soda in 1992 after the strong first year sales of Crystal Pepsi. After the clear soda crash that same year, it was quickly discontinued.

OK Soda
OK Soda – In 1992, Coke decided to try something new and released this less carbonated, more fruity soda with anunconventional marketing campaign. Fliers, soda “manifestos” and “underground” phone numbers with voicemail were used to target the youth market. This tactic was definitely different, but it backfired as the targeted audience realized it was being marketed what executives at Coke believed to be an “edgy” soft drink. After poor sales, OK Soda was discontinued in 1993.

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