Blak or Blech?

I stepped off the subway last week and up the stairs, only to be assaulted by my familiar group of free-paper hawkers, Falun Gong supporters and lunch menu litterers. I didn't give any of them a second look, but then, suddenly, I saw a new addition to the fray; a bright-faced young slacker handing out ice-cold bottles of a mysterious concoction called Blak.

Coca-Cola's newest offering, it's a dark and weird brew of Coke and coffee, a sort of frappucino on steroids. Because it was being handed out at 9 a.m., I assumed it was meant to be a breakfast drink, an attempted direct slap at Starbucks. So though I'd already had my cuppa Joe for the day, I cracked it open. One chug was enough for me—though I love both Coke and coffee, the combination was so sticky-sweet as to make me shudder.

I looked at the label again. Is that strange accent over the "a" meant to imply that the drink could easily be mispronounced Blake instead of Black? Or, if others respond the way I did, will they call it "Blech," signaling the start of a marketing campaign fated for the blooper roll?

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