Where were you the summer of ’85? The summer of the Cola Wars?
I was in middle school. Not even much of soda drinker. But when there’s war, you must choose sides. I chose Coke. Maybe it was those commercials in the 70s--people sitting together, lighting candles, and wanting to teach the world to sing. I mean, really, how can you argue with world peace AND singing?
As with any war, propaganda was prolific. And the enemy’s most notable spokesman? Michael Jackson. His message sent chills down my spine. Pepsi--the choice of a new generation.
On the outside I was utter mock and disdain. Choice of a New Generation? Right. I was of the New Generation and my choice was Coke.
But on the inside, I was all quivers and trembles.
Then came the Pepsi Challenge. My already teen-angst-ridden heart tightened with even more, well, angst. I allowed myself to voice my darkest fears . . . what if Pepsi won? What if they really were the choice of the New Generation? Where was a girl to find her Coke? The black market? (Coke and) Rum Runners?
It turns out Coke won--at least that first war.
Mini-insurrections continued to break out in the ensuing decades. I waved my, by this time, diet Coke-loving flag loudly and proudly. And while I survived the continuing barrages of brain-washing messages, I did NOT survive the CC. College Crush.
It took a sweet country boy to turn my diet Coke-loving heart to the Other Side. What Michael Jackson and his singing and dancing, and fire-flaming hair could not accomplish, John Tracy did.
John helped me find my New Coke. It was Diet Pepsi. And while I certainly enjoy a diet Coke if the opportunity presents itself--my heart belongs to the choice of my generation.