View Full Version : does anyone remember "OK" cola?

05-21-2006, 09:59 AM
i stumbled across an article about "OK" cola... a product of the coca-cola company from 1994.

i vaguely remember it, but didn't know it was made by coke at the time.

here's the wikipedia article:


had anyone tasted it?

05-21-2006, 10:00 AM
it supposedly tasted like if you ran your cup down the fountain machine. some coke, some sprite, some orange, some root beer, some fruit punch. it can basically be described as a fruity cola.

my boss used to work for coke and has a can of it with a tshirt inside, unopened. he also has an ok cola jacket.

05-21-2006, 10:01 AM

05-21-2006, 12:53 PM
it's sounds like an interesting project. too bad they didn't invest more time into it. it might've been a hit.

coke and pepsi don't often give products enough time to develop a following. they want instant gratification every time.

05-21-2006, 02:14 PM
Sounds like the European Mezzomix.

If there's too little patience in developing a market following, then NO ONE will be happy. I don't know why they dream 20+% of the market will switch to their new products in less than a month.

05-21-2006, 03:20 PM
according to the wikipedia article, OK grabbed 3% market share (in its test markets)... in under a year. that sounds pretty successful to me. i mean, coke zero is being hailed as a huge success... and it's only grabbed 1-2%.

go figure.

[ 05-21-2006, 03:20 PM: Message edited by: popologist ]

The King
05-21-2006, 04:27 PM
The line you're referring to is:

"Most soda drinkers found the taste blandly unappealing, and OK Soda never captured more than 3% of the beverage market in any of the target locations, failing to match Zyman's hype."

It never got more than 3% in any of the test markets, that doesn't mean it grapped 3% in all of them, it means the best it possibly did was 3%. I'm sure Coke Zero has reached more than 3% in several markets already.

Beyond that, there were fewer choices in 1994 than there is today. Mountain Dew only had one flavor, there were no lemon, lime, or vanilla brand extensions. There was only one Dr. Pepper. Competition is much greater now, making a 1% or 2% share tougher to grab.

05-21-2006, 07:52 PM
good points, king. you'd make a great lawyer (or detective) with that kind of attention to detail. ;)

you're probably right about coke zero, as well.

i also think coke considers zero a success b/c it's attracting the demographic they were aiming for... without cannibalizing too much of diet coke's market... which is tricky.

05-22-2006, 02:09 AM
wow....talk about an old memory..

05-22-2006, 10:59 AM
Yes, I remember it quite well. Still have several 6 packs somewhere. Someone brought several cases of it one night to our local Coca-Cola club when it first came out. Many of our club members are 60 and over. Well, they began reading the cans and then got very concerned. They said they didn't want this drink brought in anymore because 'it didn't make any sense'! LOL.. I laughed about that for a long time.

05-22-2006, 03:39 PM
lol wonka!

yeah, it wasn't really targeted at senior citizens.

still, i like the idea. it's silly, but kind of fun. of course, if the soda tasted bad... that's a whole other issue.

05-22-2006, 05:06 PM
One of the worst sodas I ever had and with really moronic advertising. OK was one of those brands that seemed dead before you even tried the product. I always thought it tasted like a mix of all the Coke products in the fountain- that bad.

05-29-2006, 02:51 PM
Even though I was fairly young I remember OK Soda quite vividly.

The thing that made it most appealing to me was the design/marketing of it.

It was one of those things where you either "got it" or you didn't. Its funny because it made perfect sense to me then at age 14, but now reminiscing with my adult friends they didn't get it at the time, and still don't.

It was basically the anti-soda of the market. It had no real sales pitch, no false promises of popularity or sex appeal when drinking it. I don't think it was ever seriously destined for the mainstream, just a drink that was supposed to make you think, rather than it doing the thinking for you. I'm sure Coke just wanted to try some obscure Noir-advertising, say their peace and move on.

I believe it was released in a dozen or so test markets in the USA around 1994, so availability was quite limited. Being in the Boston area, it was around here for quite some time. The real target consumers was the Generation X kids at the time, the deep thinking, apathetic slackers who had a slightly bleek attitude overall.

While most people consider it marketing suicide, I really doubt Coke had high expectations for it, perhaps even did it just as an expirament. I found it to be pretty fun, off beat and funny how it basically mocked the seriousness of advertising campaigns in America.

The artwork was so obscure and almost subliminal, quite interesting. Here you had all these colorful catchy drinks, then the matte grey OK Soda can with cartoon pictures and odd manifestos on it. It was so nutty that it was almost brilliant.

Its definately one of those products you either loved or hated. The taste of it was exactly like everyone else described, yet it was somehow drinkable and decent....OK, if you will. For me, the marketing and advertising was truly memorable, its not about flashly commericals and beautiful women selling your product, its about making things clever, so they stick in your head.

For me OK, did just that, and here we are 10+ years later still talking about it.

05-29-2006, 03:17 PM
i agree with upinarms. i barely remember it at the time, but... looking back, it's quite amusing.

perhaps, had it tasted a little better, it might've caught on.

also, it's hard for coca-cola to sell anything as "anti-establishment." but, then, i don't think that was the point either. i mean... it was all kind of a joke.

but, like upinarms said, a lot of people just didn't get it.

r.i.p. o.k. ;)

05-29-2006, 03:19 PM
i wonder what the diet version would've been called...



Charles Hobbs
05-29-2006, 03:49 PM
I remember some of the advertising. There was a web site for people to post stories about "being just OK"...

I don't remember seeing the soda itself anywhere in SoCal....

05-29-2006, 04:38 PM
Originally posted by Charles Hobbs:
I remember some of the advertising. There was a web site for people to post stories about "being just OK"...

I don't remember seeing the soda itself anywhere in SoCal.... A web site in 1994? How many people were online back then? I thought that the WWW didn't really begin to take off until 1996 or so... :eek:

[ 05-29-2006, 04:40 PM: Message edited by: fixman88 ]

05-29-2006, 07:13 PM
maybe that's why it kind of flopped.

05-29-2006, 08:12 PM
During its test run, they were really generous with giving promo stuff away. I called up the 1-800 number and they sent me a bunch of sheets of OK stickers and these little things that looked like stamps, a little bigger, of the logo as well. They weren't stickers, though.

I think I ended up getting stuff in the mail from them on 3 seperate occasions. I wish I held on to them now, though. I do still have one OK sticker left on my guitar from the '94 launch.

05-30-2006, 08:41 AM
let's start a "bring back OK" email-writing campaign, upinarms. ;)