Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Don't mess with perfection

By Deana Nall
Baytown Sun

Published April 5, 2006

E. Neville Isdell

Chief Executive Officer

The Coca-Cola Company

Dear Mr. Isdell,

I realize everyone can have an off-period now and then, even in the business world.

Take the shoe market, for instance. Several years ago, women’s shoes went through an ugly phase. They were all clunky and only came in two colors: black or brown. We women bought and wore them because it’s all we had, but the return of cute shoes a couple of years ago was ushered in with great rejoicing.

Now, the “ugly phase” seems to have hit the carbonated beverage market. Not since the New Coke debacle of the ‘80s have your company’s offerings seemed so... well, flat.

For example, Black Cherry Vanilla Coke. Cherry Coke is great. Vanilla Coke is OK. But Black Cherry Vanilla tastes like someone poured cough syrup into the soda fountain. I could mix Coke with cherry Nyquil at home and get the same effect. Plus I’d have a nice nap afterward.

But what’s really got me scratching my head is the new Coca-Cola product released this week called “Coca-Cola Blak.”

Coca-Cola Blak is — readers, brace yourselves — Coke with coffee in it.

Here’s a description of the beverage I found on your company’s web site:

“Coca-Cola Blak is a sophisticated, premium blend of Coca-Cola, natural flavors and coffee essence. The effervescence and rich flavor provide the perfect pick-me-up for people looking for new ways to stay refreshed any time of the day or night.”

First, I looked up the word “effervescence.” I only found an entry for the verb “effervesce.” It says, “To bubble, hiss and foam as gas escapes.”

Mr. Isdell, I am not going to go there.

Next, I decided to try Coca-Cola Blak. I have secured a four-pack from our local Target, and I’m going to take a sip right now.

Hmm. Cold, carbonated coffee. “Blak,” a word your company has invented, is a whole lot like the word “Blecch,” which is about how I’m feeling right now.

I’ll have another taste just to be fair.

Nope. I can’t do this. It tastes too much like something I threw up in college after trying to over-caffeinate myself for a late-night study session.

I put the bottles in the fridge for my husband, who — bless his heart — will consume just about anything.

Your company has also jumped on the energy drink bandwagon. I have managed to steer clear of these so far. I did notice, however, that our local bowling alley is offering Red Bull (not a Coca-Cola Company beverage) mixed with vodka for $3 a pop. I don’t know how something like this could sell at a bowling alley. It could hardly be conducive to rolling a weighty ball down a narrow lane to knock down some pins. Such a feat requires things like motor skills and presence of mind.

What kind of slogan could accompany Red Bull and vodka? How about: “Red Bull and vodka gives you wings... and a DWI on the way home from league night.”

I know you’re just trying to give consumers what they want. Well, I’ll tell you what I want. I want pure, unadulterated Coca-Cola in glass bottles — the way they sell them at George Daniels Meat Market here in Baytown. As your company learned about 20 years ago, it doesn’t pay to mess with perfection.

Thank you for your time,

Deana Nall

Baytown, Texas


  • At Wed Apr 05, 09:20:00 AM, Blogger stuckinthe80s said…

    Dang near the funniest thing I ever read...and a hearty AMEN to everything you said....except that Vanilla Coke is NOT okay!!! It tastes like someone dropped a package of Juicy Fruit into the mixer!

  • At Wed Apr 05, 10:40:00 AM, Blogger MAK said…

    Funny, funny post! Maybe they will get wind of this at Coca-Cola and send you some freebees! Let's just hope if they do it is coke classic in bottles, not the yucky stuff! I really liked the DWI quote!

    By the way, I think my grandparents went to church with your parents in Beaumont! Their last name was Willis. Small world huh!

  • At Wed Apr 05, 11:07:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I was so looking forward to the sign-off at the bottom of your articles. I was hoping to see the "herd of buffalo" line. A little risky I guess, but hey, you could get fired for my enjoyment right?


  • At Wed Apr 05, 11:38:00 AM, Blogger MAK said…

    They were members at South Park. I grew up in the Port Neches COC and then later at Groves COC, my parents still go to the Groves church, their last name is Collins. I am sure there are lots of people that we know in common.

  • At Wed Apr 05, 03:02:00 PM, Blogger El Patro said…

    I feel so helpful for saying where to go!
    Interesting blog you have here, Deana. I just linked to you. Thanks for stopping by!

  • At Wed Apr 05, 05:48:00 PM, Blogger "Snapshot" said…

    Preach it!

  • At Wed Apr 05, 06:02:00 PM, Blogger ML said…

    First of all, I think I just might like the Coca-Cola Blak. I haven't seen it yet, so I'll have to look for it.

    Second. I don't know who mak is, but that person said they grew up in the Port Neches CoC. I grew up in Port Neches and my dad was an elder of the Church of Christ that used to be on Llano St. That probably isn't the one this person went to if they are Deanna's age. So who are you and which church did you attend on what street?


  • At Wed Apr 05, 07:11:00 PM, Blogger MAK said…

    I checked out ML blog and I am about 11 years younger than her posted age. I don't remember there being a church of christ on llano street. The only COC I ever knew in Port Neches was on Nall Street, right off of Magnolia. I will ask my parents if they recognize ML's name. Some of the families that went to church with us were the Dunlaps, Dorsey's, Brown's and Melton's. So I think I am a little older than you are Deana but I definitely remember my mom talking about a Brother Hamby from South Park.

  • At Wed Apr 05, 07:45:00 PM, Blogger ML said…

    Well I'm sorry. Nall IS the street. I said Llano because I was remembering the street next to my house on the corner of Llano and Holland Ave., in Port Neches. I know all the people you have mentioned. I was Mary Lou Ritchey. My parents were Jiggs and Louise Ritchey. And they have passed away. Collins is familiar and I should know you. Did you have a brother named Jay?


  • At Wed Apr 05, 07:59:00 PM, Blogger MAK said…

    I have posted on your blog a couple of times. I have a brother named Gary and he is the Fire Chief in Nederland now. My parents are Wanda and TJ Collins and my maiden name was Michelle Collins.

  • At Thu Apr 06, 04:53:00 AM, Blogger Deana Nall said…

    MAK -- Brother Hamby was probably my grandfather, W.J. Hamby. He helped start South Park and he and my grandmother were members there until the late '80s, when making the trip across town got to be too hard for them. My dad grew up at S.P. and was the youth minister at Ridgewood for about ten years. He and my mom go to First Colony in Houston now -- I'll ask if they remember your family! (I'm 34, btw.)

  • At Thu Apr 06, 09:50:00 AM, Blogger MAK said…

    I talked to my Mom last night and she said she thought it was your grandfather at South Park. She remembers your Dad and said that he is friends with the preacher at her church, David Echols. She gave me a history lesson about who all is related to who and how. I probably know more about your family than you do now! :-) I think she said your Dad has a sister who is married to their Lawyer and then another brother who is a Dr. in Port Neches? I am probably getting it all wrong because she was also telling me about all the connections with ML. I don't remember ML but definitely remember her parents. Small World! Keep up the writting, you are very funny and I enjoy getting your perspective on things.

  • At Thu Apr 06, 10:34:00 AM, Blogger Deana Nall said…

    Yes, my dad's sister Ann is married to Sid King, who is a lawyer. She's my dad's only sibling -- the doctor (I think he's in Nederland) is Buddy Hamby and he's my dad's cousin.

    I also know ML in real life. She is a friend from church and she teaches at my daughter's school. I'm sure our families' paths have crossed somewhere back there. Yes, it is a small world!


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