Soda is one of the most popular drinks in the world and there are a multitude of flavors to choose from. However, while a select few have stood the test of time, others have fizzled out, never to be seen again. So let’s take a look at more Top 10 soda fails of all time.
10. OK Soda
Ok Soda was a soft drink that was created by the world-famous Coca-Cola company in 1993. You’ve likely never heard of it because it was only in production for two years, likely due to Coca-Cola’s strange marketing technique. It was named Ok Soda for a reason. At the time of its release, the second most recognizable word in the world was “Coke”, second only to the word “Ok”. The marketing campaign and the design of the can were meant to appeal to Generation X, who were said to be a generation of cynics who did not like advertising. Thus, an anti-advertisement of sorts was created. Describing something as simply “Ok” is not exactly a way to get people running out to buy your product. Coca-Cola has said that the point was to under-promise, rather than to rely on a common marketing technique of over-hyping. If they marketed it as only “Ok”, people can’t really be disappointed if they don’t like it. To make matters worse, Ok Soda was nothing like the original Coca-Cola soda as it was a fruity soda. So even loyal fans of Coca-Cola could not get behind the drink. If you couldn’t get the Ok Soda when it was in production, you’re still in luck! Ok Soda may not be in production anymore, but can actually still be found on eBay, although some listings have asking prices in the hundreds of dollars.
9. Pepsi Blue
Like Coca-Cola, main rival PepsiCo, decided to put out a fruity soda as well. PepsiCo called it Pepsi Blue as it was a blue colored, berry-flavored soft drink. It was launched in 2002 and had a short shelf life in Canada and the United States as it was discontinued two years later. Unlike Ok Soda, however, Pepsi Blue is actually still in production. It is still available in the Philippines and Indonesia, so Pepsi Blue is not a complete failure. The flavor has been described as berry, more specifically blueberry and raspberry, with an after taste of cotton candy. It is blue in color and is more sugary and syrupy than Pepsi’s original cola. Despite its sugariness, North Americans did not take to it as well as those in Asia did. This is not for lack of trying either, as PepsiCo heavily promoted the Pepsi Blue soda. They created advertisements with big name celebrities like Britney Spears and the bands Papa Roach and Sev. They also paid to have it advertised in the Garfield movie and The Italian Job. Even after all this advertising, sales of the drink remained low and PepsiCo cut their losses by stopping production in 2004. Even in Manila where it first gained popularity in the Philippines, it is hard to find. Pepsi Blue is typically only sold as a fountain drink at Philippine 7-11 shops rather than in a can or a bottle. So, if you want to try this fruity, sugary drink, you may have to cross international waters.
8. Sprite Remix
Rather than just one failed soda, Sprite Remix is a whole line of sodas made by The Coca-Cola Company in 2002. The soda was based on the original Sprite, but with three different fruit flavors added. There seems to be a running theme with fruit flavored sodas here and evidently Coca-Cola did not learn from their first fruit-flavored fail. As if a fruit-flavored Sprite (on top of the original lemon and lime flavor) wasn’t enough, Sprite Remix was also caffeine free. Like the other two fruit-flavored sodas we discussed, the original Spite Remix did not originally last long either. It was introduced in 2002 and discontinued three years later in 2005 due to low sales. When it was first released as a “tropical” flavor, with hints of pineapple, the drink was fairly popular. Popular enough to spark the creation of two new flavors in the line, Sprite Berryclear Remix and Sprite Aruba Jam Remix. The two new flavors did not do well after a year in circulation, so the whole line was discontinued. Surprisingly, the first Sprite Remix made a comeback in 2015 and is actually still available under a new name – Sprite Tropical Mix. Since the Sprite Tropical Remix flavor did the best when first released, this is the only flavor still available. The Coca-Cola Company took their experimentation with fruity-Sprite one step further and created flavor packets. The packets contained a flavored powder, either grape, vanilla or cherry, that you could pour into your original Sprite. While this does sound like a fun science experiment, it did not help the sales of the original Spite Remix line and was also short-lived.
7. Coca Cola Black Cherry Vanilla
Not to be confused with The Coca-Cola Company’s other sodas, Coca-Cola Cherry and Coca-Cola Vanilla, the Coca-Cola Black Cherry Vanilla was a strange mix of both. This soda was even more short-lived than the previous sodas mentioned as it was introduced in 2006 and discontinued in 2007. This soda was created in an attempt to phase out Vanilla Coke and to rename Cherry Coke as Coca-Cola Cherry. The Coca Cola Black Cherry Vanilla, however, had low sales, so Vanilla Coke was reintroduced and Black Cherry Vanilla Coke made an exit. Coca-Cola Cherry on its own has remained consistently popular since 1985 and still can be found in circulation. With the creation of the Coca-Cola Freestyle machines in 2009, however, Coca-Cola Black Cherry Vanilla has made a comeback. The machine is a touch screen soda fountain with up to 165 Coca-Cola products. The machine allows you to choose your own flavors, so you can also mix different drinks. The company gets information from the machines, including what flavors are popular both solo and mixed together. Turns out, people were mixing Coca-Cola Cherry and Vanilla together on their own accord. It was actually the most popular hybrid drink across Coca-Cola’s Freestyle machines. This led Coca-Cola to bring the previously failed drink back in bottles and cans to stores in 2020. As the drink is still new this time around, it is hard to tell whether it will be another failure like the original or if the rebranding will become popular.
6. Vault Soda
Despite the name, Vault Soda was not a typical soda, it was a hybrid drink. Vault Soda was a mix of soda and energy drink made by The Coca-Cola Company in 2005. It was a citrus-flavored beverage, similar in taste to PepsiCo’s Mountain Dew. Vault was actually quite similar in taste to The Coca-Cola Company’s previous drink, Surge, which was created to compete with Mountain Dew. Surge was discontinued in 2003 and Vault was created to replace it. As it was an energy drink, it was mostly marketed to men (even though women do drink energy drinks). Commercials featured men performing various tasks like playing paintball or turning a house into a giant birdcage, which most men surely do all the time. While completing the task, men would be drinking Vault with different slogans like, “Vault. Get to it!” or “Drinks like a soda, kicks like an energy drink!” appearing on the screen. For some reason, these commercials did not help much and Vault Soda was discontinued in 2011. Vault Soda and Surge Soda have since been reintroduced as a new drink, Mello Yello. Mello Yello is only a soda, not a mix of soda and energy drink like Vault, but it has been doing progressively better. Despite the creation of Mello Yello to replace Vault, some fans of the drink still miss the original hybrid Vault. There are actual petitions and Facebook groups demanding that The Coca-Cola Company bring Vault back.
5. Dr. Pepper Red Fusion
The Coca-Cola Company weren’t the only ones making adventurous sodas, Dr. Pepper attempted one as well. Despite the name, Dr. Pepper was not invented by a doctor. The brand was, however, founded by a pharmacist. It is one of the world’s oldest soft drinks. The first Dr. Pepper was created in the 1880s while the famous Coca-Cola was created in 1892. Despite the company’s long standing existence, there was only the original Dr. Pepper soda for one hundred and twenty two years. Dr. Pepper decided to finally branch out into different flavored sodas in 2002 and started with the Dr. Pepper Red Fusion. The Red Fusion was created as competitors like PepsiCo and The Coca-Cola Company were also creating flavored sodas at the time, like the aforementioned Pepsi Blue. The Dr. Pepper Red Fusion soda was bright red and cherry flavored, but was only in production for one year before being discontinued. The company has since brought back a cherry soda named Dr. Pepper Cherry. Unlike the original Red Fusion soda, Dr. Pepper Cherry is the same color as the original Dr. Pepper, not the bright, unnatural red color. Dr. Pepper Cherry is also more similar in flavor to the original Dr. Pepper, just with a stronger cherry taste. The Red Fusion may not be available anymore, but Dr. Pepper Cherry is still in circulation today if you really need your cherry-flavored soda fix.
4. Coca-Cola C2
While most Coca-Cola products usually originate in the United States, Coca-Cola C2 was first introduced in Japan in 2004. It was shortly thereafter brought to the United States and Canada as well. Coca-Cola C2 was a diet soda as there was a big focus on dieting at the time, specifically the low-carbohydrate diet. So, Coca-Cola C2 had half the carbohydrates, sugar and calories compared to the original Coca-Cola. It was a strange addition to the Coca-Cola family as Coca-Cola Zero, a zero calorie version of the original Coca-Cola, already existed. The Coca-Cola C2 was not zero calories, but marketed as a mid-calorie soda. It did not find success in the United States because people would choose either the original Coca-Cola or the zero calorie version if they were on a diet. Despite persuasive marketing techniques where they even marketed Coca-Cola C2 using Queen’s song I Want to Break Free, the soda did not do well. It was discontinued three years later in 2007. Coca-Cola has since rebranded Coca-Cola C2 as Coca-Cola Life. This was again a lower-calorie version of the original Coca-Cola, but it was sweetened with stevia and sugar. Coca-Cola Life was then also discontinued and replaced by Coca-Cola Stevia, sweetened only by stevia, making the drink zero calories. In conclusion, it looks like Coca-Cola fans do not want a “mid-calorie” drink, it’s all or nothing when it comes to calories.
3. Life Savers Soda
If you’ve never tried one, everyone is at least familiar with the candy brand Life Savers. They are a ring-shaped, hard candy, typically—you guessed it—fruit flavored. The brand has been around for over one hundred years as they were first introduced in 1912. So, in an attempt to branch out from candy, the brand decided to make a Life Savers Soda. As we already know, fruit-flavored sodas were popular in the 90s, so Life Savers jumped on the fruit-flavored bandwagon in 1995 with the creation of their candy themed soda. This was not a typical soda as it was a non-carbonated drink, similar to fruit-flavored beverages like Fruitopia and Snapple. Non-carbonated drinks like these are typically branded as healthy alternatives since they are made with fruit. The Life Savers Soda, however, was marketed as “liquid candy”. While this probably sounded good to most children at the time, adults found the drink too sweet despite its fruity flavor. The line of sodas reflected some of the candy’s different flavors: lime, grape, orange, pineapple and fruit punch. As Life Savers was, and still is, a reputable company known for their candy, it was hard for people to accept the soda version as it just seemed too sweet and over indulgent for a drink.
2. Pepsi Natural
Pepsi Natural was originally a United Kingdom exclusive named Pepsi Raw in 2008. The drink came to the United States, Mexico, Norway and Australia a year later, but was marketed as Pepsi Natural. The name comes from the natural or raw ingredients used in the drink. PepsiCo said all the ingredients were naturally sourced and free from artificial flavoring, colorings, preservatives and sweeteners. The drink was marketed as a natural alternative to other colas. It predominantly contained sparkling water, cane sugar and apple extract as opposed to the carbonated water, sugar and high fructose corn syrup in the original Pepsi. Pepsi Natural, however, has almost the same amount of calories as the original Pepsi. Pepsi Natural had 117 calories for 300mL and the original Pepsi has 150 calories for 355mL. This did not inspire consumers to switch over to the Pepsi Natural as the taste was different as well. There were various reviews saying the switch to sparkling water instead of carbonated water made the drink seem flat. One of the favorite things about drinking soda is how bubbly it is, so Pepsi Natural missed that mark. Due to this, Pepsi Natural did not sell well and was discontinued in 2010.
1. Coca-Cola Beverly
One of the Coca-Cola Company’s biggest soda fails was the release of Coca-Cola Beverly. The Beverly was a soda created in 1969 and marketed towards the Italian community as an apéritif. An apéritif is a drink that is served before a meal. It is typically alcoholic, but Coca-Cola Beverly was non-alcoholic. Apéritifs are typically bitter and used to aid digestion. The Beverly was no different and is said to have tasted like bitter grapefruit rind. While many of Coca-Cola’s international products end up in the United States or vice versa, Coca-Cola Beverly remained in Italy. Coca-Cola Beverly was so successful there that it was in production for 40 years, only being discontinued in 2009. Italians loved it so much that there were two versions of it, the original Beverly and the Beverly White. It never gained popularity in the United States though due to its bitterness. It used to be available at Disney World in the Epcot park at Club Cool to sample, but unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) Club Cool closed down in 2019. If you do want to try the bitter Beverly, you’ll have to go down to the World of Coca-Cola museum in Atlanta Georgia. Beware of the bitterness before you take a sip though!