Surge on social media

Updated: Sep 21 2014, 06:48am hrs
A soft drink that was discontinued in 2002 has made history in 2014. It is the first case of a brand being revived due to popular demand solely on digital and social media. The drink is called Surge and it was made by the Coca-Cola Company. It was a caffeinated, citrus-flavoured soda, introduced as a competitor to Mountain Dew in 1996. It was largely unsuccessful and the company stopped its manufacture and sales in 2002, but clearly, there were enough fans who were thirsty for the real thing. They launched a well-organised Facebook campaign and, thanks to the power of social media and the prospect of reviving a patented brand, Coca-Cola decided to bring Surge back. We have so many firsts to celebrate: first reintroduction of a brand that has been discontinued and revived due to popular demand, first launch to rely solely on social and digital media, and the first reintroduction of a brand via e-tail, said the companys president. So after a 12-year absence, Surge returns with the same formula and packaging, but will only be available on Amazon. Bloomberg reports that the successful social media campaign was started by a Facebook group called Surge Movement, which spent $4,000 to fund a billboard near Coca-Colas Atlanta headquarters asking for the soda to be brought back. There was no mention of the quantity that would be produced. Surge will also be Coca-Colas first launch that will only rely on social media and digital media, and forgo traditional forms of advertising.

There are fears that it could go the way of New Coke, the ill-fated 1985 reformulation of Coke that flopped in the marketplace. Coca-Cola has ensured that the Surge cans are designed to look like the original packaging. The ingredient list includes high-fructose corn syrup and calcium disodium, as well as concentrated orange juice. A 16-ounce can, according to the blurb, offers the power of 230 calories, 62 gm of carbs (21% of the daily allowance) and 56 gm of sugars. The company needs to find customers beyond the ones on social media. The Surge Movements Facebook fan page had 1,31,751 likes. Coca-Cola believes it has the right formula. Previously, a smaller brand would never have had a realistic shot at commercialisation. Now, with Amazon, consumers can have it delivered directly to their doorstep. Its the democratisation of demand, said Racquel Mason. Surge comes under her since her designation is associate vice-president of Sparkling Flavours for Coca-Cola North America. Quite a job title that.