Surge (soft drink)
|Manufacturer||The Coca-Cola Company|
|Country of origin||United States|
September 15, 2014 (Re-release)
|Discontinued||2003 - 2014|
|Related products||Citra/Fanta Citrus
Surge is a soft drink developed by the New Products team at Coca Cola Atlanta in 1996-7. Surge was first produced by The Coca-Cola Company to compete with Pepsi's Mountain Dew during the 1990s. Surge was advertised as having a more "hardcore" edge, much like Mountain Dew's advertising at this time, in an attempt to further take customers away from Pepsi. A variant was launched the following year in Norway as Urge, as the Surge trademark was not available there. Coca-Cola re-released it as a result of the "Surge Movement" campaign on September 15, 2014.
In 1996, Coca-Cola started production of Surge in the United States, with its original whitepaper name being "MDK," or "Mountain Dew Killer." It was developed to converge with Mountain Dew as a means of slowing Mountain Dew growth. Coke's attempts to draw users away with divergent products like OK Soda or with similar ones like Mello Yello had not succeeded. Surge was intended to improve on Mountain Dew by using maltodextrin for a longer lasting blast of energy and with bolder brighter presentation. Its release was accompanied by a vast nationwide marketing campaign that led to initially high sales and popularity. A few years after the release, sales began to slip, and as a result the Coca-Cola company ceased production of Surge in can and bottle form in 2002. They proceeded to discontinue Surge fountain syrup in 2003.
While preparations for the US launch were underway, a cry for help came in from the Norwegian Division, who were battling a successful launch of Dew in their market. Because the Surge brand was already registered by another party, the product was launched as "Urge". Local food regulation prevented the bright green colour being used, so it was launched with a pale more natural juice drink look.
Until September 15, 2014, Norway was the only country where one could still buy a similar soft drink in any form, as the original Urge recipe is still popular there.
Surge was widely associated with the extreme sports lifestyle, with television commercials similar to those used by Mountain Dew at the time. Coca-Cola also used provocative catchphrases to market Surge to extreme sports enthusiasts and teenagers alike. Some of these catchphrases included "Feed the Rush", "Life's a Scream" and the references to Surge as "A Fully Loaded Citrus Soda." Further touted was the fact that Surge had a considerable number of carbohydrates, hence the "with carbos" tagline that was occasionally used in the marketing campaigns to emphasize the fact that Surge was supposed to be more than a soda, but an energy drink as well.
After its inception, Surge's logo was updated and redesigned to a sharper and more modern look by a graphic designer/marketer Colin Nekritz.
In 1997 Coca-Cola settled trademark dispute with Babson Bros., an industrial cleaning product company whose cow-milking machine has been known as Surge since 1925.
After the discontinuation of Surge in cans, a community was formed by web designer Eric "Karks" Karkovack entitled "SAVE SURGE". The movement initially mapped the locations at which Surge could be purchased in fountain form. Upon cancellation of the fountain syrup, the community continued, adopting an approach of activism.
Sharing the same goal as its predecessor, a group on social media known as the Surge Movement set out to have Surge produced once more, as a result of Vault's discontinuation. The group repetitively posted requests on Coca-Cola's Facebook page, and encouraged its members to call Coca-Cola's consumer affairs hotline at 1-800-GET-COKE to voice their desires further, once every month. The Movement gained over 129,000 Facebook "likes" in the months after it was started and continues to grow.
On September 15, 2014, the Surge Movement was successful in their mission. Surge was re-released as an Amazon exclusive in packs of 12 16oz cans.
Comparisons of Surge have been made to a more recent Coca-Cola product, Vault, which was first released in 2005—around four years after the discontinuation of Surge. Vault has also been discontinued as of December 2011. The two drinks are noted to have had similar ingredients and taste, although Vault contained higher levels of caffeine at 70.5 mg per 12 fl. oz serving and contained artificial flavors in its recipe. The caffeine content of Surge was comparable to that of other citrus soft drinks in the American market during its time at 51 mg per 12 fl. oz serving.
Below is a listing of the ingredients of Surge, per the label on the canned and bottled versions, as well as the ingredient listings from both a Surge fountain syrup box, and a Surge Frozen Carbonated Beverage box. All three differ slightly; however, more information regarding the Surge formulation can be gleaned from both syrup variations, as they were to be mixed using a ratio of 4.4 parts cold, carbonated water to 1 part syrup.
|Surge Can/Bottle||Surge Fountain Syrup ||Surge FCB Syrup |
|Carbonated Water||High Fructose Corn Syrup and/or Sucrose||High Fructose Corn Syrup and/or Sucrose|
|High Fructose Corn Syrup and/or Sucrose||Water||Water|
|Citric Acid||Citric Acid||Citric Acid|
|Natural Flavors||Natural Flavors||Natural Flavors|
|Concentrated Orange juice||Concentrated Orange Juice||Concentrated Orange Juice|
|Potassium Benzoate||Potassium Benzoate||Yucca Extract|
|EDTA and Erythorbic Acid||EDTA and Erythorbic Acid||Quillaia|
|Potassium Citrate||Potassium Citrate||Potassium Benzoate|
|Caffeine||Caffeine||EDTA and Erythorbic Acid|
|Yellow #5||Yellow #5||Potassium Citrate|
|Yellow #6||Yellow #6||Caffeine|
|Carob Bean Gum||Carob Bean Gum||Yellow #5|
|Blue #1||Blue #1||Yellow #6|
|Carob Bean Gum|
- Maheshwari,Sapna. "Coca-Cola Is Bringing Surge Back". Retrieved 2014-09-15.
- Nekritz, Colin. "A Logo is More than a Logo - Surge Soda". Retrieved 2013-11-26.
- "Coca-Cola Norway website". Coca-Cola. Retrieved 2010-03-22.
- "YouTube - Surge Barrels of Fun Commercial". Retrieved 2012-01-25.
- "SaveSURGE.org". Retrieved 2012-01-25.
- "Coke settles dispute over Surge trademark". Southeast Missourian. January 24, 1997. p. 6B. Retrieved September 15, 2014.
- "SURGE MOVEMENT". Retrieved 2012-02-08.
- Alter, Charlotte (September 2014). "Coca-Cola Is Bringing Back SURGE". Time. Retrieved September 15, 2014.
- "How Much Caffeine is in Vault?". VaultKicks.org. Retrieved 2012-01-26.
- "Surge FCB Syrup". Retrieved 2012-02-08.
- Parnell,Matt. "Matt Parnell's Brain: Plugged In! - Surge and Vault". Retrieved 2012-01-25.
- "Surge Fountain Syrup". Retrieved 2012-02-08.
- Jay Moye (September 15, 2014). "SURGE Returns: Back by Popular Demand, Brand Now Available Exclusively on Amazon.com". Coca-Cola