Coca Cola has announced the rebirth of one of its most popular citrus-flavored beverages — the Surge soda in the United States. Last seen on shelves around the country in the early 2000s, Surge is now back on sale, albeit as a limited edition version with limited availability on Amazon.
If you know your carbonated drinks history well, you would certainly be aware of the fact that Surge made its debut in the mid 1990s. Conceptualized to counter the rising popularity of archrival PepsiCo’s Mountain Dew, Surge did manage to garner some fans. However, Coke was unable to stop the Mountain Dew juggernaut, which, incidentally, continues to this day.
Surge soda was introduced sometime in 1996 and was subsequently discontinued in 2001. Surge’s seven-year availability might have been painful for Coke to recall, but there is no doubt that Surge won its share of hardcore fans in the years it was available for purchase. Note that this was way before the era of social media; there was no Twitter, Facebook, or MySpace when the Surge brand went out.
Fast forward to 2014 and, thanks to the efforts of a group of over 128,000 Surge fans, the Coca Cola Company decided there is enough critical mass to warrant a comeback, according to Bloomberg. And come back it did – but not before Surge fans did crazy things to direct attention to their plea. They created a Facebook page in 2011 which was used to co-ordinate the mass movement. The highlight of the campaign to bring Surge back was the $4,000 billboard they managed to unveil at a prime location – right in front of the office of the Coca Cola Company.
The billboard contained the following message.
“Dear Coke, We couldn’t buy Surge so we bought this billboard instead.”
Surge, according to the Coca Cola Company, would be offered in 12 packs of 16 ounce cans. The cans would be similar to the ones that were used well over a decade ago, and would sport the classic retro look. Coke’s decision to team up with Amazon for the distribution marks the first time in its history that they are using an e-commerce channel as the only way to distribute a project.
Wendy Clark, president of sparkling and strategic marketing, Coca-Cola North America said, “If expectations are met, this may be only the first of a variety of efforts we explore to launch niche products through e-commerce relationships. This will be a great learning experience for us and a refreshing opportunity for fans.”
Another advantage for Coca Cola is the fact that sales and inventory can be easily monitored using the online distribution network of Amazon. This also means Coke need not bother fiddling around with its existing offline distribution network.
According to a blog post about the return of Surge, the Coca Cola Company writes, “The return (of Surge) will be Coke’s first launch to rely solely on social and digital media. The brand will forego all traditional forms of advertising, including TV and out of home, allowing excitement to build online.”
Have you tried Surge in the past? If not, are you planning to have it once it’s made available on Amazon?
[Image Via Coca Cola]