A citrus-flavored comeback

by Eric Schroeder
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Surge will become the first Coca-Cola discontinued brand to return to market.

 

ATLANTA — Surge is coming back. In a move representing a couple of “firsts” for The Coca-Cola Co., Surge, a citrus-flavored beverage offered between 1996 and 2001, is getting a second chance.

Surge will become the first Coca-Cola discontinued brand to return to market. It also will become the first Coca-Cola brand to rely solely on social and digital media. The brand will forego all traditional forms of advertising, Coca-Cola said. The company said it has partnered with on-line retailer Amazon to offer 12 packs of 16-oz cans featuring the same retro design from Surge’s initial run in the market. The beverage will be available at www.amazon.com/surge.

“If expectations are met, this may be only the first of a variety of efforts we explore to launch niche products through e-commerce relationships,” said Wendy Clark, president of sparkling and strategic marketing for Coca-Cola North America. “This will be a great learning experience for us and a refreshing opportunity for fans.”

Fans are what sparked the Surge comeback. According to Coca-Cola, three individuals raised nearly $4,000 in 2013 to buy a billboard about a half-mile from Coca-Cola’s headquarters in Atlanta. The billboard directed people to a Facebook page focused on “The Surge Movement.” The page has amassed more than 128,000 fans.

The Surge movement group also organized “Surge-ing days” where members called Coca-Cola’s consumer affairs hotline en masse to lobby for the beverage’s return. Other efforts included sending holiday cards to Coca-Cola asking for the beverage’s return and creating commercials on YouTube.
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