OK Soda

In the mid nineties, Coca-Cola decided to try out a new soda. They wanted to tap into the generation x market and create something that screamed anti-image. What their efforts produced was OK Soda. The soda that told you it was just fine to be OK. This brand was not trying to be exuberant or jolly. OK was not going to go to war with any other flavor. It was just there, and blah. The flavor was never described or even mentioned in marketing. The flavor was beside the point. It may be the first and only Soda to have had a manifesto. I took this off Wikipedia:

  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.

One day after school a friends and I went to the soda machine to get something to keep us hyper on the bus ride home. The new button on the machine’s display intrigued us.

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We bought a couple cans. Both cans were noticeably different from one another and very peculiar compared to any other can designs we’d seen before. We bought as many we could, which was about three more. Fifteen year olds don’t have much cash. For whatever reason from that point on we claimed the drink as our own. We were too naive too see the ridiculousness of the way OK was pushed in an un-pushy manner. There was even an 800 phone number that you could call and listen to messages of other OK fans and why they felt OK about the product.

A year or so later the soda stopped showing up on shelves and I heard rumors that it was being discontinued. So bummed were we. This was near the time I discovered the internet and would spend time searching on infoseek every pop culture word I could find. One day I came across a “Save OK Soda” site. The site suggested writing Coca-Cola and telling them what you thought about not being able to drink the beverage choice of the over bored youth of America. So I did. A few weeks passed and I received a letter from Jennifer telling me that I was outta luck. Thanks Jennifer. Last week my mother sent me a box, as she does every month. These boxes contain among other things letters and photos from when I lived at home. The OK Soda reject letter was in this box.
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I decided to point out the key parts of my letter proving I had too much time on my hands.:

1.She thanked me, because Jennifer cares.

2. The awful news. The The end of the road. I had Kurt Cobain lying on the floor wearing maroon converse flashbacks.

3. Yes, Jennifer I was. Please rub my face in that.

4. You did not work hard enough. There has not since been OK soda at my table. Surge and diet/lemon/vanilla/coke do not count.

5. Jennifer signed her name. I would lick my finger to see if the ink is real, but the letter is from 1997 and that’s really old ink.

Moral: Distance make the heart grow fonder vs. Out of sight, out of reasonable judgment to spend your teenage years doing productive things and instead writing emails to corporate giants with zero chance of getting results.

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About kristiane

killing spiders with my laser eyes.
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28 Responses to OK Soda

  1. Billy says:

    I tried to subscribe. It wouldn’t let me. This will be in my Fav. list so I can see it anytime I log online.
    Glad you are writing!

  2. kristiane says:

    Hmm. I tried to subscribe to myself to see if I could figure it out. I can’t. But thanks!

  3. Kazanti says:

    I remember OK and it was OK, but really did it stand a chance with the future anyways. I mean when the EXTREME flavor assaults your pallet. We get AMPed or open the Vault. The little wallflower would have gotten trampled and ended its days twitching and saying “Don’t worry I’m OK” but it wouldn’t be OK it would just not want to raise a fuss and die agonizing over its existence. The way it did go was quietly into the night saying cheerily “It’s OK I had a good run, I’m off to relax and not promote myself or do any real effort in this warehouse.” I for one say bravo Jennifer Mathis Labant for allowing OK to poof into nothingness with as little effort and fuss as OK would have wanted. *wipes a tear*

    Part 2: Tech support.

    They do subscriptions via RSS feed OR dynamic homepages such as google I happen to have a google personal page I always use and now have a happy Pilver spot just under my horoscope, that lets me know when anything new is there. Hope that helps some.

  4. Lindsey says:

    I really really loved OK soda. The thing about it is that it was really more of an “experience” than just a soda. I appreciate that they are trying to provide the world with new products and whatever, but really, the OK experience will never be duplicated. I do not believe that anything will ever come close. What I really wonder is if they’d be willing to sell the rights to the product so we could try to bring it back. How hard would it be???? We reproduce the exact product and we set up a phone line with an automated recording. All thats left are some fun notes and anecdotes for the cans. EASY!!!! OK soda is one of my favorite high school memories:)

    • Katrina Dupree says:

      I thought I was the only one who actually liked the OK soda. It is nice to see so many people agreeing that it was an okay drink.:-)

  5. kristiane says:

    Had I spare cash, I would set up a phone line for the stuff. I think the messages received would be great. OK Soda will be one of those stories we will tell our grandchilderen in our rants about what will be wrong with their generation fifty years from now.

    Thanks for the hints Kazanti. One of these day I will figure out the RSS. It’s one of those things that sounds great. I just don’t know how to use the greatness.

  6. Claire says:

    Wow. OK Soda. I only drank it because Ryan and his friends did and I had crushes on all of them. I guess I misguidedly thought that the mere sight of 15 year old me drinking their favorite subversive soda would get them. I was mistaken.
    It’s yet another thing that brings Minnesota people together because we were in the test market. I’ve actually tried to talk to people about it down South and they just look at me like, “What is that fool yankee talkin’ ’bout now.” Except in Little Rock. THEY understand.

    This is really funny, Kristiane! You’re a great writer.

  7. Christina says:

    Oh the memories!!! I recall standing in the hallway across from the principals office making phone call after phone call with you guys to the 800 number to share with ‘them’ (whoever ‘them’ were… who knows perhaps Jennifer, that cold heartless bitch!) mediocre stories about how ok soda had affected our lives, and how ‘ok’ we were. That is when I wasn’t giving my mom a call on 1-800-collect from her daughter, “trackisover comeandpickmeup” oddly enough, she never accepted the call, but about 9 minutes later, there she was to take me home.

  8. kristiane says:

    Hey! I know those phones. man that was such a great school. But not for the whole learning thing. Just cause we had the greatest group of girls who would do things like call OK soda and the mentos didn’t hurt either.

  9. Xyberviri says:

    Man i remmber in austin i got OK soda in middle school and we use to call the payphone out side the cafeteria.

    That stuff tasted like fresca. with a little mountaine dew

  10. amy says:

    Ahhh the memories of OK… I had the complete “collection” of cans and 20 oz bottles. I remember my boyfriend thought I was nuts for drinking the stuff but I loved it. After it went off the market I’d mix Coke, Orange, and a tiny bit of tea to try to duplicate the taste. My husband has never heard of OK, but I guess that’s because he wasn’t in Austin at the time that it was here. Too bad he’ll never know what it feels like to have the OK Experience. :)

  11. Jimmy says:

    How bizarre that I would think of OK out of the blue after over a decade, and then find a blog with a comment from someone else on the same day. That’s pretty OK. Actually, the thought of OK came to me as I was dreaming up packaging ideas for a new product and pondered something along the lines of ‘anti packaging’. Of course, the inherent problem with that is 95% of people just don’t seem to ‘get’ that sort of thing and would just put the product back on the shelf whilst making a confused scrunchy face, and then reach for something comfortably consumerific. But who knows, maybe today’s climate might support something that goes against the grain a bit?

  12. kristiane says:

    yes, maybe OK was just before it’s time…and its time is now?

  13. Kitty says:

    I remember being in 6th grade in Arkansas and falling in love with the soda lol and calling their hotline like every day listening to new stories. If only someone still had some and put it on ebay :D Well kinda was disappointed when i googled what happened to it. I’d love to see coke bring that back- good memories!

  14. jimmy says:

    it’s awesome to see people still on here blogging about OK Soda. On eBay I just spent $65 on a collectors can, came out of a machine, and has some kind of prize inside. It’s hard to open it to find out and devalueize the item some, but the seller said it was some kind of hat or possibly a shirt. I don’t think a shirt would fit in it however… I also saw one of those hanging mobile advertisements sell for like $55.00 a couple weeks ago. If you remember those.

    Stupid Coke.

  15. kristiane says:

    stupid coke indeed!

  16. OK greetings from the pacific northwest.

    I had a can saved for the big y2k party, but forgot it in the fridge when I moved in with my girlfriend. I had a feeling it would’ve held up fine and still been OK.

    I found the advertising and packaging amusing, having a refreshing self-referential honesty. I liked the mouthfeel of the product too. it wasn’t quite as cloying as mountain dew or as heavy as dr pepper.

    I have no idea if I’d still like it now, over a decade later…

  17. Cory says:

    Shall we petition to bring it back?

    I, frankly, adored it. The marketing, the flavor, the fact that you have to do things to it to fill it’s potential… It really lived up to it’s name.

    I’ll set up a petition on one of those petition sites, we’ll see if we can’t have some lulz.

  18. Laura says:

    Man, I *loved* OK Soda. It had that awesome nutmeggy taste to it that I’ve never been able to reproduce. There have been many times I have lamented the loss of what was (and still is) my favorite flavor of pop. I’m glad to see other people know of and miss this product as well. Now, if I can get anybody to reminisce with me regarding Pepsi Blue, I will be a happy woman. :)

  19. brian says:

    I loved it.
    I want My OK.
    DAMN IT< I WANT TO FEEL OK!

    seriously, perhaps given the economy, coke should re-introduce ok soda.
    make us all feel ok.
    perhaps the cynics among us would get a chuckle again, out of the pure schtick that was the advertising campaign

  20. Jennifer says:

    Kristiane,

    I just wanted to personally let you know that the ink is real. I can promise you that I signed every letter I wrote. And I’ll have to admit that I get a kick out of seeing one of my letters on your site.

    While I no longer work for the company, I have seen them introduce a ton of new drinks recently. There seems to be a huge effort to appeal to all tastes. You might want to see if there’s something else similar that’s been introduced recently.

    I can’t believe it’s been nearly twelve years since I wrote this letter to you. Time really flies.

    Take care,
    Jennifer

  21. Clive says:

    The comment before mine is weird, how is it that the writer of the letter from 12 years ago comes across this blog. If it were me, I would had a lot more fun than to endorse coke products… especially when you don’t work there anymore. I would have laughed a poked more fun at the situation. I’m thoroughly disappointed.

  22. Matthew Flaschen says:

    I don’t know. I thought that Jennifer?’s comment was OK.

  23. Jason Robinson says:

    Sadness!

    I must have been in 8th grade or so, when everything was OK in Denver, CO. I loved that phone line, with its OK Bird Calls and its messages from other folks about the OK-ness of everything.

    If I recall, I was kinda into recording telephone calls at that time (creepy, I know.) I wonder if by chance I ever recorded the OK guy. Man, I’d live to heat some of those messages again…

    Glad I’m not the only one with fond memories of OK Cola.

    Jason in Jersey

  24. Anthony Thompson says:

    Hey, girl.

    Well, we used to make fun of the so-called “hip” advertising and product design. But I LOVED the taste! And miss it. : ( Thanks for the memories.

  25. S. Bell says:

    Did you hand write a letter to Coca-Cola? Wow.

  26. Katrina Dupree says:

    I thought I was the only one who actually loved the OK soda. That was one of my favorite sodas as a teen! I WANT MY “OK” BACK! I WANT TO BE OK AGAIN!

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