Monday, December 11, 2006

Product Review: Coca-Cola Blāk

Rarely do I get the pleasure of reviewing new products, because, let's face it, I'm a very critical man, and nobody in their right mind would ever send me anything to review. Furthermore, I'm so disconnected from reality that I'm sure most products that I become aware of have been out for at least a year.

I think at some point we all saw a billboard advertising this concoction while driving eastbound towards Rosemead on Del Mar (which, incidentally, terminates at Del Taco), so I'm embarrassed to say that billboard advertisement does actually work, as per the following example. Last night, on his return trip from Walgreens, my roommate syruptitiously brought home a four-pack of the delightfully new Coca-Cola Blāk, which I promptly discovered in the refrigerator this morning. I yelled at him from the kitchen, saying, "What the hell is this crap in the fridge?"

My roommate confessed that he wanted to try something new. Of course, I came screaming back in the work room bearing three bottles of this odd elixir. "Chug it!" I hollered at my co-workers, handing them the new, mildly effervescent beverage.

All three of us business partners opened the queerly curvaceous containers, and sipped. The drink seemed benign enough, and I took a larger "chug." And then it hit. The aftertaste... gah! All of us grimaced at the same time, wondering what kind of crimes against God and Nature were committed by the chemical factories that effused this disgusting, highly-trumpeted, over-produced elixir. Great. I just swallowed a mouthful of industrial waste.

Shortly after this horror, I scrutinized this beverage's label, and I found my sensibilities assaulted. Up until that point, I didn't notice the letter "ā" in its name. The beverage, according to Coke marketing goons, is pronounced "black." According to the label, the macron character (-) above the "a" should be pronounced like the "a" in "bake." We call this a "hard vowel" sound in English. So now we have confirmation that 1. a Coke taste tester is an oxymoron, and 2. Coke's marketing department doesn't understand how dictionary pronunciation keys are supposed to work. I'm not sure how important this is to you, kind reader, but I should have never quaffed this beverage based solely on literary principles, and now I feel dirty and betrayed.

Some additional trivia about Coca-Cola Blāk:

  • According to Marc Mathieu, vice president of global core brands at Coca-Cola, "Coca-Cola Blāk is not just a flavor extension. It is a blend of unique Coke refreshment with the true essence of coffee and has a rich smooth texture and has a coffee-like froth when poured. We believe we have created a new category of soft drink – an adult product in a carbonated beverage – and a whole new drinking experience. This brand is ideal for any part of the day when people are looking for renewed energy or simply to take a break."

  • According to my roommate, "Coca-Cola Blāk tastes like those nasty little fake-tasting coffee candies dissolved in Coke."

  • According to Consumer Reports, Blāk is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup and two artificial sweeteners: aspartame and acesulfame potassium. Per volume, it has twice the caffeine of Coca-Cola Classic.

So, what is the future of Blāk? Wikipedia used to mention that Blāk will be discontinued in the United States and Canada in early 2007 (gee, I wonder why.) However, this information was edited out of the article on Dec 23. The French version of Blāk supposedly tastes better... but is made using cane sugar, so we will never see it in the United States.

At our apartment, the future of Blāk was much more decisive: the remainder of the noxious material was poured out into the lawn. I just hope that the grass won't die.

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