Surge, a sugary, caffeine-packed soda popular in the 1990s, was last mass-produced in 2003. The end of the product line never sat well with Surge fans, however, and they lobbied for more than a decade to for its return.
Coca-Cola, the company behind Surge, relented in 2014 and made a limited run available on Amazon. Fans went crazy and the supply of Surge was quickly gone. Starting Labor Day, Coca-Cola is making Surge available again, this time in wider distribution at stores in the eastern United States.
According to WSB-TV in Atlanta (where Coca-Cola is headquartered), the return of Surge was due in large part to the “Surge Movement,” a grassroots social-media group with nearly a quarter-million members. The group was founded by Evan Carr, Sean Sheridan, and Matt Winans.
WSB-TV reports that while the Surge Movement existed in cyberspace and made heavy use of social media, the group went old school when it purchased a billboard to proclaim their collective love for Surge.
The billboard, which read “Dear Coke, we couldn’t buy SURGE, so we bought this billboard instead,” was located a half mile from Coke’s headquarters and eventually got the attention of Coke executives.
“They’ve inspired us,” said Coke’s Associate Vice President of Sparkling Flavors, Racquel Mason. “More than 128,000 people, a dozen years after a brand left the market saying, ‘Please bring it back!’ That’s the best compliment any brand could hope for.”
Matt Winans spoke about the effort to bring back Surge with the Fergus Falls Journal, his hometown paper. He noted that the achievement has historical significance.
“This ultimate feat of consumerism has led to the very first revival of a discontinued brand since Coca-Cola’s founding in 1886,” Winans said of the Surge Movement’s success.
The city of Fergus Falls and its local Coca-Cola distributor are looking to capitalize on the attention the Surge Movement is bringing to the community. A special Surge themed fund raiser is planned for later this week.
“We felt this nationally recognized story brings the city of Fergus Falls, an opportunity too exciting to pass up, so we connected with Matt to devise a plan,” said Darin Carlson, director of sales at Viking Coca-Cola. “On September 10, we intend to not only celebrate the brand’s relaunch in Matt’s hometown but to recognize his efforts with a lunch event that will help raise money for the Fergus Falls Community Food Shelf.”
In a nod to the social media movement that inspired its return, Surge is being marketed entirely online. Coke officials said there are no plans to use print or broadcast media in their advertising strategy for Surge.
[Image courtesy Coca-Cola]