An Incomplete History of Being OK: OK Soda

Posted by Gemma on the 31st of July, 2011

Coca Cola discovered in the late 1980s that 'Coke' was the second most recognisable word across all languages; The first was 'OK'.

OK Soda, a strangely-demographic specific attempt to capitalize on this 'existing universal brand potential', was a total commercial failure, due partially to its attempt to seize a demographic already savvy to marketing games and partially to its reportedly terrible, generically fruity flavour.

Its marketing campaign, helmed by the same guy who invented the sickly portmanteau 'Fruitopia', was aggressively ideological. OK Soda wasn't a Soda, it was a Gen-Xy, Winona-hearts-Ethan, pop-philosophy lifestyle choice.

It had a Manifesto:

1: What's the point of OK? Well, what's the point of anything?
2: OK Soda emphatically rejects anything that is not OK, and fully supports anything that is.
3: The better you understand something, the more OK it turns out to be.
4: OK Soda says, "Don't be fooled into thinking there has to be a reason for everything."
5: OK Soda reveals the surprising truth about people and situations.
6: OK Soda does not subscribe to any religion, or endorse any political party, or do anything other than feel OK.
7: There is no real secret to feeling OK.
8: OK Soda may be the preferred drink of other people such as yourself.
9: Never overestimate the remarkable abilities of "OK" brand soda.
10: Please wake up every morning knowing that things are going to be OK.

The short shelf-life of OK Soda was amazingly detailed, absurdly self-aware and confusing in its ironies, both intended and accidental. The cans were printed in drab grey and black, a corporate subversion of corporate marketing itself with graphics that reference both 'alternative' comic culture and soviet propaganda. They were printed on the inside and out with segments of the Manifesto, which has deliberate echos of both Orwellian doublespeak and the self-help boom occurring concurrently with its release. There was a 1800 number (1-800-I-FEEL-OK) that consumers could call and leave messages after hearing an intentionally deadpan disclaimer: "your comments may be used in advertising or exploited in some other way we haven't figured out yet."

One of these comments, which may or may not be 'authentic', was actually used in a tv ad: 'Ah, this is Pam H. from Newton, Massachusetts, and I resent you saying that everything is going to be O.K. You don't know anything about my life. You don't know what I've been through in the last month. I really resent it. I'm tired of you people trying to tell me things that you don't have any idea about. I resent it.'

If a particular button on the telephone was selected, the automated voice would make bird noises.

The backlash was swift, and once the soda was declared a commercial failure and pulled form the shelves, it was finally embraced as a 'cult' item by the demographic - one that valued irony, obscurity, and liking things that no one else does - that it had sought out so overtly.

An empty plastic 2L bottle ('used') will currently retail on ebay for 13 US dollars.

(Information on OK Soda borrowed from Wikipedia )


There is no real secret to feeling OK.

An Incomplete History of Being OK: OK Soda

Posted by Gemma on the 1st of August, 2011

Coca Cola discovered in the late 1980s that 'Coke' was the second most recognisable word across all languages; The first was 'OK'.

OK Soda, a strangely-demographic specific attempt to capitalize on this 'existing universal brand potential', was a total commercial failure, due partially to its attempt to seize a demographic already savvy to marketing games and partially to its reportedly terrible, generically fruity flavour.

Its marketing campaign, helmed by the same guy who invented the sickly portmanteau 'Fruitopia', was aggressively ideological. OK Soda wasn't a Soda, it was a Gen-Xy, Winona-hearts-Ethan, pop-philosophy lifestyle choice.

It had a Manifesto:

1: What's the point of OK? Well, what's the point of anything?
2: OK Soda emphatically rejects anything that is not OK, and fully supports anything that is.
3: The better you understand something, the more OK it turns out to be.
4: OK Soda says, "Don't be fooled into thinking there has to be a reason for everything."
5: OK Soda reveals the surprising truth about people and situations.
6: OK Soda does not subscribe to any religion, or endorse any political party, or do anything other than feel OK.
7: There is no real secret to feeling OK.
8: OK Soda may be the preferred drink of other people such as yourself.
9: Never overestimate the remarkable abilities of "OK" brand soda.
10: Please wake up every morning knowing that things are going to be OK.

The short shelf-life of OK Soda was amazingly detailed, absurdly self-aware and confusing in its ironies, both intended and accidental. The cans were printed in drab grey and black, a corporate subversion of corporate marketing itself with graphics that reference both 'alternative' comic culture and soviet propaganda. They were printed on the inside and out with segments of the Manifesto, which has deliberate echos of both Orwellian doublespeak and the self-help boom occurring concurrently with its release. There was a 1800 number (1-800-I-FEEL-OK) that consumers could call and leave messages after hearing an intentionally deadpan disclaimer: "your comments may be used in advertising or exploited in some other way we haven't figured out yet."

One of these comments, which may or may not be 'authentic', was actually used in a tv ad: 'Ah, this is Pam H. from Newton, Massachusetts, and I resent you saying that everything is going to be O.K. You don't know anything about my life. You don't know what I've been through in the last month. I really resent it. I'm tired of you people trying to tell me things that you don't have any idea about. I resent it.'

If a particular button on the telephone was selected, the automated voice would make bird noises.

The backlash was swift, and once the soda was declared a commercial failure and pulled form the shelves, it was finally embraced as a 'cult' item by the demographic - one that valued irony, obscurity, and liking things that no one else does - that it had sought out so overtly.

An empty plastic 2L bottle ('used') will currently retail on ebay for 13 US dollars.

(Information on OK Soda borrowed from Wikipedia )

The preferred drink of other people