The Strange Story Of “OK Soda”

The Gen X’er version of New Coke.

1. In 1993, The Coca-Cola Company decided they wanted capture the Generation X market by creating a new product that was unslick, cynical and anti-corporate. The result of that effort was OK Soda.

2. OK Soda was the brainchild of marketing executive Sergio Zyman, the marketing man behind Coca-Cola’s biggest product flop, New Coke.

3. Coca-Cola settled on the name OK after their research revealed that “Coke” was the second most recognizable word in the world, the first was “OK.”

4. Brian Lanahan, then-manager of special projects for Coke, told “Time Magazine” that they also went with the name OK because “It underpromises. It doesn’t say, ‘This is the next great thing.’ It’s the flip side of overclaiming.”

5. To give the cans and print ads an edgy look, OK Soda featured designs by “alternative” cartoonists Daniel Clowes (“Ghost World”) and Charles Burns (“Black Hole”).

6. Zyman created a non-traditional ad campaign in response to perceptions that Gen X’ers were cynical and disillusioned. Capitalizing on it, OK’s slogan was “Things are going to be OK”, and they even set-up a hotline 1-800-I-FEEL-OK.

7. It even had it’s own “OK Manifesto,” that include statements like “What’s the point of OK? Well, what’s the point of anything?” and “There is no real secret to feeling OK.”

8. Despite its national media campaign, OK Soda was only tested in select markets in an attempt to create a buzz and demand. But, it failed to meet sales expectations and was officially discontinued by Coke in 1995.

9. Today it occasionally pops up on eBay, where empty cans fetch as much as 25 dollars.

10. And of course, people drinking it on YouTube:

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