Thursday, January 20, 2011


Beverly isn't my new best friend. She is kind of disgusting.

Before anyone gets offended - especially anyone named Beverly - I must confess that Beverly was the name of a soft drink in the tasting room at the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta.

Beverly is a Coca-Cola soft drink sold in Italy. Evidently, taste buds are markedly different in Italy. It's the color of ... well, you can fill in the blank.

Randy gave it the famous Fritzemeier sniff test. It didn't pass. And it definitely didn't pass the taste test.

Beverly was one of 64 flavors of pop in the tasting room at the downtown Atlanta attraction.

Visitors could drink their fill of soda pops from around the world - regular and diet versions. I'm pretty sure we didn't drink $16 worth of pop to cover our admission price, but it was still a fun way to spend part of an afternoon.

I may not be a fan of Beverly, but I am a diet pop addict. There, I said it: That's the first step in overcoming addiction, right?

I'm not particularly picky when it comes to my diet pop. Store brand ... name brand: It doesn't matter much to me.

But if I were choosing between the Big Two in the diet cola wars, I'd have to choose Diet Coke over Diet Pepsi (though Diet Dr. Pepper is really my favorite).

The World of Coca-Cola traces the history of this fizzy drink. One afternoon in 1886, Atlanta pharmacist John Pemberton stirred up a fragrant, caramel-colored liquid and, when it was done, he carried it a few doors down to Jacobs' Pharmacy. There, the mixture was combined with carbonated water and sampled by customers who all agreed: This new drink was something special. So Jacobs' Pharmacy put it on sale for five cents a glass.

This old bottle says it is for headache and exhaustion. I guess it still holds true for me today. If I don't have my diet pop, I probably will have those withdrawal symptoms.

Evidently, I'm not alone. Now operating in more than 200 countries and producing nearly 450 brands, Coca-Cola says it "provides a moment of refreshment -- a billion times a day." Yes, billion with a "B."

This Kansas farm wife was particularly intrigued by one document called "Project Kansas."
Project Kansas is a bold stroke attempt for total victory. It is a sweeping effort to redefine the selling proposition, not just for sugar colas, but for all soft drinks.

In its size, scope and boldness, it is not unlike the Allied invasion in 1944. This is not just another product improvement, not just a repositioning or new product introduction. Kansas, quite simply, can not, must not, fail.
You guessed it: It failed. So, unfortunately, our fair state of Kansas is associated with one of Coca-Cola's most colossal failures - the launch of New Coke in the 1980s. Less than three months after introducing New Coke in 1985, Coca-Cola executives announced the return of the original formula.

I guess it just shows it's tough bucking tradition.

The last stop on the tour was getting our "free" bottle of Coke, bottled right there at the World of Coca-Cola.

Well, it wasn't actually the last stop. Like most attractions, you have to walk through a gift shop to leave. We now are the proud owners of a Coke-logoed golf ball, refrigerator magnet and a Christmas ornament.

Is it any wonder these marketing gurus make you walk through the gift store?

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