Surge (soft drink)

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Surge
Original and second logo
Original and second logo on cans
Type Citrus soda
Manufacturer The Coca-Cola Company
Country of origin United States
Introduced 1997
Discontinued 2003
Related products Citra/Fanta Citrus
Mello Yello
Mountain Dew
Sprite
Sun Drop
Urge
Vault

Surge was a variation of a Norwegian citrus soft drink called Urge. Surge, like Urge, was produced by The Coca-Cola Company to compete with Pepsi's Mountain Dew. Surge had a more "hardcore" edge much like Mountain Dew's advertising at this time, in an attempt to further take customers away from Pepsi.

History[edit]

Urge: the Norwegian predecessor to Surge

In 1996, Coca-Cola started production on Surge, a variation of the Norwegian soft drink named Urge. Surge was produced and marketed in the United States, with its original whitepaper name being "MDK," or "Mountain Dew Killer."[1] Surge's 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.[citation needed]

Norway is the only country where one can still buy a similar soft drink in any form, as the original Urge recipe is still popular there.[2]

Marketing[edit]

Surge was widely associated with the extreme sports lifestyle, with television commercials similar to those used by Mountain Dew at the time.[3] 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.[4]

After its inception, Surge's logo was updated and redesigned to a sharper and more modern look by a graphic designer/marketer named Collin Nekritz.[1]

Formulation[edit]

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.[5]

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.[6]

Surge Can/Bottle[7] Surge Fountain Syrup [8] Surge FCB Syrup [6]
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
Maltodextrin Maltodextrin Maltodextrin
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
    Blue #1

Trademark[edit]

The Coca-Cola Company has not been without battles concerning the Surge name. In one case reported by The Associated Press, there was a trademark dispute settlement due to pre-existing usage of a company's green-colored industrial cleaning products and milking machine, known as Surge since 1925.[9]

Interestingly, The Coca-Cola Company makes reference to SURGE on the Products List page of its website written using all capital letters, a distinction from most of the other listed brands. Underneath this list of brands is the assertion that "The trademarks listed above are owned or used under license(*) by The Coca-Cola Company and its related affiliates..."[10] This seems to indicate that The Coca-Cola Company officially recognizes this discontinued brand of beverage as SURGE.

Legacy[edit]

Save Surge[edit]

After the discontinuation of Surge in cans, a community was formed by web designer Eric "Karks" Karkovach 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.[4]

Members would create "recipes" meant to mimic the look and taste of Surge, sign and distribute petitions, protest at their local bottling plants, and otherwise pressure Coca-Cola to bring back their favorite beverage. They got a response in 2005 when Vault was brought to market, and while Coca-Cola has yet to confirm the similarity in taste and appearance, the members of the movement took the inception of Vault as the fruit of their labors.

Surge Movement[edit]

Sharing the same goal as its predecessor, the group seeks to have Surge produced once more, as a result of Vault's discontinuation. The group repetitively posts requests on Coca-Cola's Facebook page, and encourages 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 has gained over 122,000 Facebook "likes" in the months after it was started and continues to grow. The members plan on continuing to flood the walls of Coca-Cola and its subsidiaries until they receive an official statement from the company. They also claim to be the biggest organization to pledge for the revival of any discontinued product.[11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Nekritz, Collin. "A Logo is More than a Logo - Surge Soda". Retrieved 2013-11-26. 
  2. ^ "Coca Cola Norway website". Coca Cola. Retrieved 2010-03-22. 
  3. ^ "YouTube - Surge Barrels of Fun Commercial". Retrieved 2012-01-25. 
  4. ^ a b "SaveSURGE.org". Retrieved 2012-01-25. 
  5. ^ "How Much Caffeine is in Vault?". VaultKicks.org. Retrieved 2012-01-26. 
  6. ^ a b "Surge FCB Syrup". Retrieved 2012-02-08. 
  7. ^ Parnell,Matt. "Matt Parnell's Brain: Plugged In! - Surge and Vault". Retrieved 2012-01-25. 
  8. ^ "Surge Fountain Syrup". Retrieved 2012-02-08. 
  9. ^ "The Southeast Missourian - Jan 24, 1997 - Coke settles dispute over Surge trademark". Retrieved 2012-08-25. 
  10. ^ "Coca-Cola Products - Brands Beginning with S -- The Coca-Cola Company". Retrieved 2012-08-25. 
  11. ^ "SURGE MOVEMENT". Retrieved 2012-02-08.