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OK Soda (wikipedia.org)
254 points by velmu on April 7, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 128 comments

This seems like something that came about a decade too early, like Neutral Milk Hotel. If this launched today, I could see it gaining traction.

The art on the cans is pretty cool.

I love that there was a Usenet mailing list for this:




(Not sure if Google Reader links are stable.)

The marketing was a total hit where they tried it (including in my area), but it tasted terrible. It might have been conceptually a little "out there" for the early/mid 90s, but lots of people were talking about it, and my friends and I really wanted it to be great. I really think the problem was that it just sucked.

It'd be really OK if they brought it back, with a better, less-aggressive formula. Or perhaps as a mild seltzer.

They could call it "OK2" and admit in the marketing, "The original OK was not as okay as we'd hoped. This is okayer."

Ha, yeah, agree they should do just soda water with no taste!

But of course now it's for millennials and the play is on the "ok boomer" concept ;)

> Ha, yeah, agree they should do just soda water with no taste!

You mean La Croix? :P

Somewhere i read or heard la croix taste described as ‘

if you were standing at one end oF a long hallway and someone walks out of a room at the other end and whispers ‘orange’ toward you’

This is very pleasant to me. The dense/scifi level of flavoring in the more syrup forward soft drinks isnt interesting and refreshing its become oppressive and tiresome.

I’ve never heard a soda taste as being oppressed. Thank you.

Oh it's got taste... mmm yummy cockroach insecticide!


I was a senior in HS when it came out and I remember a bunch of us really liking the style. But, yeah, it tasted terrible.

It was certainly no crystal pepsi.

Another marketing company that deploys product as an afterthought?

How many companies have signaled jumping the shark by renaming and rebranding, as if any product issue can be fixed with messaging? Comcast -> Xfinity. Radio Shack -> The Shack. Sci Fi channel -> SyFy...

As a consumer, I'm insulted when the vendor thinks I'm so shallow. As an employee of such a vendor, it's a sign of thrash and a warning signal to look at leadership.

I agree, if you have a good product people will flock to you, although if everyone basically has the same thing like say sneakers (Nike!) that are essentially the same across all vendors a brand can set you apart even though your product isn't really any better than the competition

> As a consumer, I'm insulted when the vendor thinks I'm so shallow.

This, and then they consciously aim their campaign at people that are easily insulted by obvious marketing... What could go wrong?

I actually liked it back in the day, but it basically reminded me of what it would taste like if you mixed every soda in a soda fountain.

The branding reminds me instantly of OBEY [0], which was really big for a while in the 2010s.

[0] https://obeyclothing.com/

Yesterday some girl was wearing one of those T shirts in a newspaper photo. I'd never saw them before. Is it related to Carpenter's movie?

> Is [OBEY] related to Carpenter's movie?

Yes. This is covered a bit in jwz's writeup "They Live and the secret history of the Mozilla logo".

I think very few people realize Shepard Fairey ripped off Carpenter’s “They Live” movie.

And that "They Live" was heavily influenced by the work of Barbara Kruger.

Oh wow. I had never seen her work, but a quick Google Images search totally confirms that.

yeah, she doesn't get talked about enough for how much she has influenced pop culture


His work was plastered all over major city centers (Berkley, New York, Seattle) in the 90s. 20 years later, it's a retro cultural icon.

Indeed, I made the same link. However, even at its largest, obey did not have a broad-enough appeal as what Coca-Cola execs would've wanted. Also, the ties with a mainstream brand would be off-putting to the core OBEY customer.

What’s a stronger mainstream brand than the Obama campaign (same artist)?

Out of order... The “branding” that became Obey started in 1989. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andre_the_Giant_Has_a_Posse

But it took off in a resurgence in Obama era.

Two things having the same artist doesn't mean they have the same mainstream potential. As I understand it, the "OBEY" thing was distinctly anti-authoritarian. For it to become mainstream would be for it to become the subject of it's own mockery.

Maybe it started that way but it became a whole large corporate clothing line.

> If this launched today, I could see it gaining traction.

Well, the marketing guys back then thought it could have been a hit backe then and I can see why. If you were around in the nineties, there were quite a few products geared to that cultural stream of the subvertising movement.

You mean two and a half decades too early? Or do you mean it'd have fared well a decade and a half ago?

Try it again.

Things that fail, fail in a context of the times it was executed in.

It's especially worth trying a failed idea again if the context appears different.

I was a young teen when it first came out -- in retrospect, I think it's cool, but at the time, everybody I knew felt like it was baldly pandering to our demographic / 'disaffected slackers' in general, and looked upon it with mild disdain

I wouldn’t be surprised if someone is reviving it, I’ve seen it mentioned a few places recently.

> This seems like something that came about a decade too early, like Neutral Milk Hotel

Without NMH happening in the 90s we wouldn't have the wave of bands that were inspired by them and found success 10 years later.

The can art looks like the prototype of every craft beer can on the market now.

I was asked to review a book of beers that were being made, including one which is on one, called 'The Lost and Found: an American Craft Beer Craft Beer Designer' this one.

The book is very detailed and a piece that I would not suggest anything I knew of. It was produced by a small team of professional brewers including a wine writer's producer.

These include a bottle and bottles

never dreamt I'd see an NMH reference on HN! :)

Yes! A sugary drink that has no nutritional value - which is shit for the human body - is a great product! // sarcasm [1]

Jesus, the twisted logic of this current system that encourages excluding-enclosures (proprietary 'recipes') is so damaging to humans as well as to the planet.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4kvX1kgJ8Q

I think I was into my second year in middle school in Italy when this came out... so it’s far from my experience in both time and space. And yet it triggers an inexplainable sense of nostalgia in me for the nineteen-nineties, grunge, early-New Economy, pre-9/11 world. Somehow it also makes me think of William Gibson’s Pattern Recognition, both because it features a protagonist who is hyper-sensitive to branding to the point of allergy, and functions as a funereal eulogy to the era.

It also reminded me of Pepsi Perfect, the fictional brand of Pepsi-Cola featured in Back To The Future II’s (now) alternate version of 2015: http://design.pepsico.com/pepsi-perfect.php?v=101#section2

Yes, for some reason reading/looking at this made me super nostalgic as well! Just want to sit in a couch in the mid 90's and listen to CD's and watch Beavis and Butthead and read stuff in magazines instead of on the internet.

Very strong melancholic feeling.

I think in Pattern Recognition a character says, "More creativity goes into the marketing of products than into the products themselves."

I'd love to think of it all as some kind of art project, but there are always undertones of manipulation and intentional disaffection.

The budget home brand of Dutch hardware store chain Gamma is called "OK". They have everything from paint to power tools and it uses even more brutalist packaging design: https://www.gamma.nl/assortiment/zoeken?f_brand_name=OK&f_ca...

Why buy good paint if you can also buy "OK" paint and pay less?

Reminds me of the Japanese brand (non-brand?) Muji: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muji

Just to clarify, the design is 100% post-war-modernist, not brutalist. Not surprising for those parts, what with Scandinavia going all-in on modernism back in the day (afaik).

When I saw the can design I immediately thought that it looks like the art style of "David Boring" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Boring), turns out it was really Daniel Clowes who designed it. "Ghost world" is one of my favorite stories & movies as well, but I didn't hear about O.K. soda before. Fascinating!

While I really like the art style and dark touch I think it was probably too niche or too off-putting for most people.

Fellow Clowes afficionado here. That's exactly what I thought too when I looked at the art!

Just a couple of days ago, I discovered Clowes work in the movie 'Paul'. I thought the art work looked very much like that of Clowes' and paused the screen to observe it closely and noticed that it was signed 'Pussey'(after Dan Pussey, the timid cartoonist character in Clowes' universe), which confirmed it for me :) https://imgur.com/a/HbCLB5c

Clowes also drew one of Silicon Valley's promos https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C9V2XMLUIAA8oaC.jpg

Eightball was one of my favorite comics back in the day.

I chuckled at the quotes around "beverage" on the can.

I remember

① buying a can of this from a vending machine at MIT, when I visited while I was in high school

② occasionally calling 1-800-I-FEEL-OK, especially to test out a phone or something

I just called this number to try it out. It's a phone sex line now. There are supposedly hot girls for guys to talk to, but I didn't investigate the veracity of this claim.

In the 80's I once met a guy who claimed to own the phone number on the "HOW'S MY DRIVING? CALL 1 (800) EAT-SHIT" bumper stickers, a parody of all those trucker's bumper stickers with real 800 numbers to report them to their masters.

Not sure how he monetized it, but he had some scheme going on, and paid for it by selling the bumper stickers. Probably he sold more to all the careless drivers who called and wanted one too, than actual shit eaters.


I will volunteer to perform this hard hitting investigate journalism.

Now I have two questions:

1. Is the sort of thing ever outsourced to, for example, India? Or wherever else is a common place for call centres if it’s no longer there.

2. Is anyone currently doing this with chat bots and speech synthesisers?

>> 1. Is the sort of thing ever outsourced to, for example, India? Or wherever else is a common place for call centres if it’s no longer there

I don't know if there are call centers full of phone sex workers. You'd have the same background noise you get when calling any call center. And the workers would have to get paid when nothing was happening.

Here's a read on the topic:


>> 2. Is anyone currently doing this with chat bots and speech synthesisers?

Me: Hey Google, talk dirty to me.

Google: Manure. Dust. Crusty crumbs on the floor. <Poop emoji>

I can only report that Google does not talk dirty to me at this time.

Do you remember the vending machines around that time on MIT campus that had games built in: some LEDs that would blink after you purchased a coke, and if you won, you got a free coke!

I think there also were some musical coke machines, too.

(I was also visiting while in high school!)

When I worked at the CMU CS department, my office was right down the hall from the Internet Coke Machine, and you could "finger coke@cmua" to see how many sodas of what kind there were, and what their temperature was.




I used to spend hours on the hotline as a kid. It was really weird and entertaining.

I upvote this because I’m impressed by the number icons.

“Enclosed Unicode Numerals”

Searching for that string explicitly [on Google] only yielded HN results, but relaxing the search terms yielded:


Very common in Japan.

Japanese language require IME to type, which converts sound written in hiragana to kanji: i.e. you type soba → get “そば” → IME suggests you “蕎麦”. Basically a stretch of modern phone keyboard correction but existed since the 80s.

Nice side effect to it is while there are predetermined sets of conversions coming with IME, it also handles some arbitrary mapping for convenience, i.e. かお(face) → ( ´∀`) or きょう(today) → 2020/04/08.

iOS Japanese keyboard gives me following for literally number 1: 1 1 ① 一 ⅰ Ⅰ 1K ⒈ ⑴

I drank this regularly in Junior High. It basically tasted like "Swamp Water" (all the available sodas at a fountain mixed together) with a slight awkward vanilla or black liquorice tone. I remember it tasting especially bad if it wasn't cold.

Blast from the past, not sure why it is on HN, I did a double take. Didn't know I was in a "Test Market". Ok Soda and ORBITZ were the only flash in the pan sodas I remember from that generation.

I love the term "swamp water." We called it making a suicide.

Also, just looking at the ingredients of OK Soda I expected it to taste like Coke and Mountain Dew mixed together.

Same here. I actually still had an unopened can and a stack of labels I had peeled off bottles when I moved out of my parents' house and ended up chucking them all in the trash. I kind of wish I still had the can to just stick on a shelf, the cans were pretty cool looking.

Scored too high in the #fellowkids scale to work out.

Especially since it seems a fine example of design by committee. Test markets, reports. Gee I wonder why Gen X was cynical like that.

Oh and they even had a "manifesto" that was in some ironic way a "selfawarewolf".

How come we don’t hear more about gen x? It is always millennials are lazy or millennials are killing this or millennials are destroying that. Even when gen z does this ok boomer thing, it is the millennials who are blamed of being disrespectful (my understanding is very few of us are doing the ok boomer thing — we are in our thirties now!)

Preface: generational reasoning is always stupid. The differences in group are greater than the differences out.

That said a) as a gen xer we used to hear all the same things about gen x as we do now about millennials. Its largely time gated. b) gen x is a much more transitional generation, there weren’t as many defining moments and c) its a smaller cohort. Millennials were the largest birth cohort since the baby boom.

Because the media is currently largely staffed by gen X people on the higher levels. As this transitions, intergenerational moaning in the media will shift from targeting millennials to gen x and gen z; as boomers get less relevant even more ire will turn against gen x. Moaning about people who have the nerve to be too young or old is a time honoured tradition; we’ve been at it for millennia and it’s not going anywhere.

20 years ago, all you heard about was generation X. They had their time.

We're not dead yet...

There are two critical things to recall about OK Soda:

1. This article in The Baffler: https://thebaffler.com/salvos/id-like-to-force-the-world-to-...

2. 2/3 Coca-cola, 1/4 Orange Soda, 1/12 Dr. Pepper

> Pirko told host Noah Adams that OK tastes “a little bit like going to a fountain and mixing a little bit of Coke with a little root beer and Dr. Pepper and maybe throwing in some orange.”

This is consistent with my memory of the taste. I think I only had one or two cans in my life. The taste was adequate, but not truly compelling.

A funny thing, sometimes a shitmix has it's own unique taste.

Ever try "thumbs up"? First time I tried it I was like gross, what did they mix all the flavors?

But the distinct taste grew on you.

> A funny thing, sometimes a shitmix has it's own unique taste.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mezzo_Mix Mix of Cola and Fanta, and I'd say it's more popular than just Fanta in Germany.

Assuming you mean the Indian soft drink, IIRC it's actually "Thums Up" (no "b").

That's correct, and the "weird taste" relative to other sodas was (is? Been a while since I've been to India, and I noticed it was losing market share badly last time I was there...) cardamom. Cardamom is put to good use throughout Indian cuisine (chai, sag dishes, etc.), making Thums Up really much more complementary than traditional western sodas.

There was a way to use a coke soda fountain to make something that tasted shockingly like Baja Blast. It involved Sprit and Blue Poweraid from what I remember. There may have been one more ingredient.

If you are into this kind of stuff, I recommend watching the movie Syrup [0]. It's a fictional movie about marketing/branding within a soda company.

[0] https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0762138/

When I saw marketed at Gen X, the first thing I thought of was at that time, one of the conventional bits of wisdom about Gen X was that we were resistant to being marketed at. I'm not sure that I buy that—Gen X bought into a lot of lame stuff marketed at them, but this seemed exactly the sort of marketing campaign which would support the conventional wisdom.

I'll just stick to my FUCKING STRONG COFFEE thank you.



Good coffee, nice people. They're my neighbors in Amsterdam.

The stuff sure delivers on its promise! I used to live near you too, since I got it at the place on Binnen Oranjestraat, near Relax and Small World Catering (a really great place with nice people, too).

Small World Catering is great! They’re still doing some take-out out business through the window. (During Coronavirus, I mean.)

They featured the work of Clowes and Burns! Very cool.

Just a couple of days ago, I discovered Clowes work in the movie 'Paul'. I thought the art work looked very much like that of Clowes' and paused the screen to observe it closely and noticed that it was signed 'Pussey'(after Dan Pussey, the timid cartoonist character in Clowes' universe), which confirmed it for me :) https://imgur.com/a/HbCLB5c

Clowes also drew one of Silicon Valley's promos https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C9V2XMLUIAA8oaC.jpg

Yes, two of my favorite comic artists from the 90s. I was clearly in the target for this soda, although I have never been into soda. Maybe that was the error.

I find the contrasts between Gen X and Millennial stereotypes quite striking. You can see it in the media, which was often simply a dramatized perversion of generational self-reflection to sell media.

The Gen X generation seems to be characterized as generally depressed with a bored attitude of *its ok, i'll get over it". The primary theme there is some form of muted (apathetic) emotional resiliency, where mute suggests a primary characterization that is unintentionally not primarily communicated. These sort of characterizations suggest something that is not fragile, but not something that is socially exciting.

Millennial generation on the other hand appears to be characterized by maximum inclusion and interconnectedness, which are great... until people are cut off, which is characterized for its stark fragility.

Those are stereotypes and are prone to being wildly inaccurate with respect to any particular group or subculture, but still its interesting to compare those two demographics by solely looking at the representative media. During Gen X grunge, gangster rap, and country music were wildly popular. The really big deal in my area was Nine Inch Nails which was horribly depressing. Shows like Roseanne, Married with Children, and Beavis and Butthead were all the rage which mostly featured primary characters sitting on a couch complaining and getting over it. Also remember the Simpsons were far more depressing in their first few seasons during that period of time.

Media also reflects the stereotypes for the Millennial generation as well. The popular shows of the late 90s and early 2000s were things like Friends, Seinfeld, Sex and the City, Grey's Anatomy, and 30 Rock. These were all friends spending time with each other being happy, and aside from 30 Rock, none of those people ever seemed to go to work. Work is boring and depressing. The biggest things in music during the early years of the Millennial generation were most pop bands that graduated from boy bands or young attractive female pop singers. The theme was be beautiful, happy, and connected, but the moment you weren't connected the rest of it seemed to fall apart.

Comparing the two generations it seems Gen Xers are living an emotional coma enjoying all that numbs them to, while Millennials are living with bipolar disorder.



Another example of the myth of the omnipotence of marketing messages.

Marketing only works when the product works. Coke works because most peoples first experience is good, not only good, but in many cases magical (kids who've never had caffeine, especially combined in a tasty high sugar drink). Coke advertising just has to trigger memories of the happiness of that original taste association, and the marketing director looks like a genius.

Then he tries to make his own products, and the feathers on his gawdy wings start to smoke.

> OK Soda may be the preferred drink of other people such as yourself.

I love this! Is it a novel piece of copywriting, or a play/parody of something?

Perhaps an allusion to non-mainstream demographics?

Perfect marketing for 2020. Hope they'll reboot it soon.

"The drink's slogan was 'Things are going to be OK.'"

Well hey, the branding worked for OkCupid.

The site's not trying to be an amazing Cupid. Just an OK one. ;)

It's blowing my mind that these had Clowes/Burns artwork on them!

Weird to see my tiny hometown (Lynden, WA) was used as a test market

Here in Berlin there is an energy drink branded “ok.-“

Here is the link with pictures https://www.okpunktstrich.de/

Not too exciting. They also have chocolate and strawberry drinks :-)

also in Switzerland. It's a brand by Valora (Kiosk, Brezelkönig, Ditsch, ...)

I was working in college radio and writing for The Onion back when OK Cola came out. I think the money that went into this makes most sense framed as a type of generational panic combined with technological transformation. The early Gen Xers were entering the workforce with a set of behaviors / values that felt unfamiliar & perhaps threatening to Boomers. Boomers began to feel uncool, out of touch and no longer culturally adept in the way they always had previously. This is nothing new, but I think it might be particularly wrenching when it finally happens to a demographically large and dominant cohort. Millennials, let me know how it works out.

More importantly rapid changes in technology caused corporations to lose control of media distribution for the first time. Widespread availability of personal computers / microchips caused media creation and distribution costs plummet in publishing, music, and film production/distribution. New insurgents like Fantagraphics, hip hop, college radio, indie rock, The Onion, The Stranger, Might, indie record labels and indie movies could route around large corporations to find an audience and build a business. Capital was still needed, but was orders of magnitude less than it had been for prior generations.

The resulting panic was deepest in the industries connected to entertainment, including those that depended on it for marketing. It seems absurd, but consumer brands convinced themselves that not only would Xers reject traditional media & advertising - they’d reject the previous generations products as well. There was sincere worry that millions of kids would stop drinking Coke & Miller Lite. Ad agencies helped fuel this panic as it brought with it an opportunity to pry large accounts away from incumbents.

This period didn’t last long, but it did birth a number of experiments like OK Cola, most of which were conceived as experiments and strategic contingency plans. For a brief and shining moment, there was some decent money and cultural cachet showered upon a bunch of smirking early 20s Xers whose only qualifications were helming a late night college radio program. It was wonderful to see Daniel Clowes, Charles Burns and other generation-defining artists get some well-earned money if not recognition.

For a moment there I wondered if George from Seinfeld had created a virtual assistant :D

I've watched all of Seinfeld and I don't get this reference :D

Despite being in one of the test market areas, I don't remember this at all.

I remember being so proud of my OK Soda hat that I won in a can at school.

Good memories.

Design of OK Soda looks quite similar to Fallout Nuka Cola

> OK Soda's concept was that the youth market was already aware that they were being manipulated by mass-media marketing, so this advertising campaign would just be more transparent about it.

It reminds me of a catchline for 7-Up, spoken by the cartoon character Fido Dido (late-80s?): "More a can of drink than a way of life."

I have a hobby of trying odd sodas. This one was on my list with New Coke, Crystal Pepsi, Surge and Orbitz as things I'd never get to try.

That list has gotten smaller over time as Crystal Pepsi and Surge got mass rereleases, and New Coke got rereleased last summer.

Orbitz I believe said that they no longer have the machinery to make the balls but I have no source on that.

Come on Coke, rerelease OK Soda. Tie it in with OK Boomer for all I care.

Am I the only one feeling this has a weird resemblance to "OK Boomer" in its nonchalant attitude?

The "Soda Generation" is the generic version of the "Pepsi Generation".



French Firm Targets "Soda Generation" With Cola-Flavored Wine



The Pepsi company isn't that much better. (with regard to strong-arming, don't have much to say about assassinations) Quite a few bars around here have had to choose to not carry any drinks from either Coca-Cola or Pepsi, just to be able to serve some new, more local, sodas

So much for "capitalism fosters competition". Who would've expected it, huh?

Well. Ultimately it does. In larger European cities very few fancier restaurants/bars cater Pepsi/Coca Cola. Those brands are gradually being seen more and more as low-end McSodas. The winners are Club Mate/Fritz Cola and a whole bunch of local brands.

I'm not sure if that's really true. Club Mate and Fritz Cola are common in Germany, but not so much elsewhere.

I would say that in Prague all the hip places have them, they are also quite popular in Sofia (this is what I had on New Year's Eve as I was on antibiotics), though there are still a few nice bars with Pepsi/Coke. I would presume that this is the case in most of the Eastern EU. The small towns and classic pubs usually got Kofola/Derby or some other cheap local alternative. Btw the manufacturing price of soda is almost negligible.

Are we lacking in brands of soda?

Free markets foster competition. Our current system is not capitalism as per definition.

> Who would've expected it, huh?

Every sane mind that operates with sound definitions.

Wouldn't free markets also have this issue? What stops coca cola to stop catering to establishments who carry their competitors? They've got the mindshare because they have spent a few billion in marketing, so you have to carry what the public want. Now the choice is either coca cola or anything else. How will free market solve this problem?

Your fundamentals are broken. First of all, free markets didn't create this problem in the first place. So you can't just blame them for it nor do they have to be able to fix it to prove their overall validity.

Second, you are buying a bag of goods here.

> They've got the mindshare because they have spent a few billion in marketing

Is this so? I would doubt that. Also, as an aside, are you talking about America? Here in Europe it's different…

> so you have to carry what the public want

No you don't. You have to carry what your market wants. Sales of MS Office on the Mac have schown that "the public" wants it. But what does a Linux distro have to carry? Vim and Emacs.

It depends on your market…

> Now the choice is either coca cola or anything else. How will free market solve this problem?

It's called disruption. Examples of disruptors are Linux netbooks, Afri Cola, maybe Tesla if they succeed, and many others.

We can go more into depth with this discussion if you want.

> First of all, free markets didn't create this problem in the first place. So you can't just blame them for it nor do they have to be able to fix it to prove their overall validity.

Didn't blame anything on anything. I asked a question.

>Is this so? I would doubt that. Also, as an aside, are you talking about America? Here in Europe it's different…

I live in Europe and there is plenty of mindshare captured by these companies. Also soft drinks like these are not in the european culture, you can just take a look at relative market sizes.

> No you don't. You have to carry what your market wants.

Seriously? you are going to make a snide comment about my colloquial use of the term public instead of market? Real mature.

> It's called disruption. Examples of disruptors are Linux netbooks, Afri Cola, maybe Tesla if they succeed, and many others.

All of these things you have listed have existed for decades and barely hold 10% of their respective market. And please don't give the example of linux. Linux cannot be compared with other products which don't get free programming contributions and community support. Linux is nothing like its competitors.

The article cites examples from 30 years ago of a local manager(s), working for a Coca-Cola bottler (not Coca-Cola), directing a hit on union members (the article itself is from almost 20 years ago). That's terrible but Colombia went through a de facto civil war and was (is?) a violent place in the best of times. I do think you may be overstating Coca-Cola's involvement.

How long are people going to milk this Colombia episode to tell people not to drink Coca-Cola projects? I attended a few left-wing protests in the early millennium where activists also brought along banners and t-shirts for their own pet causes, and the "Coca-Cola kills Colombian union activists!" already felt done to death. At this point, it is just as tiresome as using the 40-year-old infant-formula episode to advocate avoiding Nestle products, and it will turn off more people than you'll attract to your cause.

1. That was just an extreme example. The common example is squeezing small businesses to strengthen their monopoly.

2. Was the matter resolved to the satisfaction of the union? Were the culprits or the people responsible acknowledged by the company to stand trial? Did the company compensate the families of those killed?

3. How are employment conditions in Coca-Cola today? In Columbia and elsewhere in the world?

If (2) and (3) had satisfactory answers, I promise I'd drop the matter from here on out and stick to (1).

Dunno. Political killings are kind of a big deal to me. Should I buy the argument that Coca-Cola was a different corporation back then, young and impetuous and we should not hold them responsible, because they are a changed person, err, corporation?


Certainly - because you're an independent and autonomous individual, and that's why your personal and unique choice of "Coca Cola", which was not at all engineered by corporate marketing.

Assuming you're in the US - at least try one of these regional drinks (simple search here - I'm no expert):


I think coke tastes good

Why did you try it in the first place?

I guess because my parents gave it to me


I mean, it seems likely to me that every global mega-corporation has probably employed a murderer at some point in time. It's just a numbers game.

If the board has a meeting and decides to murder someone, that's a problem. If some random employee decides to murder someone, it's probably not the company's fault.

1. This sounds like the "but every large world state has committed some form of ethnic cleansing or genocide, so XYZ" type argument. Perhaps that's true; and it's certainly true indirectly, in the sense that wars and killings and executions benefit dominant economic entities. But the conclusion isn't to to just ho-hum excuse it.

2. I suspect most regional soft drink makers don't kill people. So, let's buy their stuff.

3. Of course the board won't take that decision. That's what unofficial fixer positions at contractors are for. Or - the decision is taken independently by a Barney-Stinson-type manager:


"Provide Legal Exculpation and Sign Everything"

If I drink this soda will I become haunted like the guy on the can? lol


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