OK Soda (Coca-Cola, 1993)
Generation X is a cynical bunch and in 1993 Coke created a soft drink meant just for them. Unfortunately, for Coke, they let the guy who created their biggest flop (New Coke) to create OK Soda. (Hey, at least we know from this that Coke is into giving second chances.)
Sergio Zyman, a Coke marketing executive also created a non-traditional ad campaign in response to the fact that Generation X were a cynical, disillusioned bunch. He even gave the drink its own manifesto: “What’s the point of OK? Well, what’s the point of anything? There is no real secret to feeling OK.”
To give the cans and print material it’s distinctive, edgy look, Coke hired “alternative” cartoonists Daniel Clowes (Ghost World) and Charles Burns(Black Hole). Coke settled on the name “OK” based on their research that determined “Coke” was the second most recognizable word in the world, with “OK” being the first. Brian Lanahan, the then manager of special projects also stated to Time that they chose “OK Soda” because “it underpromises. It doesn’t say, ‘This is the next great thing.” It’s the flip side of overclaiming.”
Though OK Soda received a national media campaign, it was tested in select markets. This move was supposed to create buzz and demand. It failed miserably and life became much less OK for OK Soda when it died in 1995.
The strangest ad that Coke officially released for OK Soda? An ad that lauded how OK Soda tasted like “carbonated tree sap.” It’s hard to see why OK Soda failed, isn’t it?