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How Coca-Cola’s Doomed “OK Soda” Can Lead To Your Next Great Ad Idea

How Coca-Cola’s Doomed “OK Soda” Can Lead To Your Next Great Ad Idea

WHO: Video essayist Thomas Flight

WHAT: “OK Soda – Advertising’s Awkward Relationship with Postmodernism”

WHY WE CARE: In 1993, then Coca-Cola CEO Roberto Goizueta pulled what many thought was a peculiar business move: He re-hired Sergio Zyman to be chief of marketing for all Coca-Cola beverages. Keep in mind that Zyman was the man behind the launch of 1985’s infamous flop New Coke. Zyman used his second chance to create OK Soda, a citrusy cola that became more known for its subversive marketing campaign than its flavor–and that only lasted seven months after a limited release.

Zyman based OK Soda on research that found “Coca-Cola” was the second most well-known term in the world, right behind the word “OK.” What followed was what can now be seen as a case study in postmodern advertising–and one that video essayist Thomas Flight documents well in his new highly-informative deep dive.

Flight’s thesis of “can you effectively brand disillusionment?” is the tipping point to a rabbit hole of other pertinent questions like “was OK Soda’s marketing campaign just ahead of its time?” and “where’s the balance between subverting traditional marketing to grab attention and torpedoing your own product?”

If you’re brainstorming ideas for your next “quirky” marketing campaign to reach Gens Y and Z, Flight’s video essay is required viewing.

KI