Friday, May 11, 2007

2007 vs 1988, Part 1: Beverages

As we embark on our nineteenth season without a World Series banner, we at SoSG thought it might be fitting to reflect on those halcyon days of yesteryear. 1988 was obviously a great time to be a Dodger fan. Orel Hershiser and his 59 consecutive scoreless innings streak. Steve Sax, in his last year with the Dodgers, batting .277 at second base. Mike Scoscia keeping the team together behind the plate. And Kirk Gibson's immortal home run and fist-pumping home run trot. For a Dodger fan, it's easy to think back and say to oneself, "it doesn't get any better than this."

And though I'm not trying to posit that a pair of Wilsons (Betemit and Valdez) and the misadventures in the outfield outweigh the memories of the past (though if you throw Olmedo Saenz in there, they probably outweigh 1988 or any other year for that matter), it did get me thinking about whether life was better back then, versus now.

So today, we're going to talk about beverages. That's right, beverages. And in this particular category, there is no doubt that the beverages of today are far superior than the beverages of 1988. Now I'm not talking about the beverages that I've "discovered" since 1988 (e.g., single malt whiskey), but have been out in the market for a while. I'm talking about beverages that weren't around back then, but make life much better today.

Case #1: Dannon Frusion. Part yogurt, part fruit, it's a perfect breakfast smoothie for those on the go. Introduced in 2001, a test panel at the Patriot-News (Central Pensylvania's Leading News Source) recently called the Frusion "A favorite of the test panel for its real fruit puree--texture is not too runny or thick." (You'll have to trust us on this unless you want to spend the $1.99 to buy the full article.) It's sort of like Yoplait Go-Gurt for adults. The only problem is that the 10-ounce size goes down so smoothly and quickly that you're begging for more. I am personally partial to the Wild Berry Blend and Banana Berry Blend.

Case #2: Gatorade Rain. Introduced in 2006, this sports drink was designed to address Gatorade enthusiasts who liked the flavor portfolio but wanted "softer flavors." Gatorade Rain did $120MM in its first year and was noted as one of the top product successes of the year, making acquirer PepsiCo a very happy company (sales and profits are up). Gatorade Rain is perfect for a morning workout, not overwhelming one's taste buds with sugary flavor, but rather, hydrating oneself in what tastes like a fresher, cleaner way that is gentler on the palate. Berry, Lime, Tangerine; they're all good. I don't know how that recently-launched Gatorade A.M. is going to do, but I'm happy with the Rain stuff.

Case #3: Coca-Cola Zero. A triumph of marketing chemical goodness, zero-calorie Coke Zero amps up Diet Coke to the next level. Made with a formula based on the original Coke, its blend of artificial sweetners helps it taste less astringent (according to the Wall Street Journal) than Diet Coke. And, unlike Diet Coke, Coke Zero has similar levels of caffeine to Coca-Cola Classic (34.5mg per 12oz, rather than Diet Coke's 45mg), helping you feel less strung out (a la Violent Femmes). Since its introduction in June 2005, Coke Zero has sold over 100MM unit cases, even helping Coke's overall stock price (WSJ 4/17). And the sly marketing campaign (with Coke's co-workers suing for "taste infringement" is hilarious. In addition to the tasty drink itself, I also like the mixed-font typeface, juxtaposing the script "Coca-Cola" with the diminishing-thickness sans-serif "zero", symbolizing the marriage of old and new. Love it.

So there you have it, three cases of how beverages today rock. If they had had these kinds of drinks back in 1988, I probably would have drunk a lot less Coke, which likely ended up stunting my growth--so I'd be taller and more hydrated. 2007 beverages definitely kick 1988 beverages' asses.

Am I wrong?


Eric Karros said...

The Coke Zero ads are pretty clever, but I think the 80's wins for most addicting beverage jingle: Shasta Cola.

Anonymous said...

I miss the Good ole days. I want Peter O' Malley back as the owner. I want Helen Dell to play the organ all of the time instead of that stupid music. I want Mike Scioscia back (as the Manager). I want all of the ads in the field gone. Is this too much to ask. I can dream can't I?

Orel said...

You keep dreaming, FB. I'll be busy managing my flavor portfolio.

Steve Sax said...

Hey, Nancy Bea Hefley ain't bad on the organ. Too bad they don't let her out of that room very often, and feed her only enough rations to play twice per game.

cigarcow said...

Haha, great feature! But didn't '88 have Crystal Pepsi? Touche!

Also, I think drinks were a hell of a lot cheaper back then...or maybe not. Whichever.