6 Eyebrow-Arching Old Sodas That Sound Like Liquid Nightmares
There are plenty of failed sodas that have become something of a legend. Everybody is quick to throw out Crystal Pepsi or Surge when they're trying to make an easy joke or observation about a carbonated shit show that never caught on. But a world as deeply beloved as that of sugary hell drinks that make your teeth rearrange actively in your head like a game of musical chairs is bound to contain so many more failed attempts that you likely have never even come across.
And you should be able to tell why pretty quickly ...
White Coke, The Communist Crystal Pepsi
The first is the only one on this list that isn't the failure of some major brand. In fact, it may not really be a failure at all ... but it damn sure doesn't exist anymore. Back right after WWII ended, a Russian general, Georgy Zhukov, caught a love for the taste of Coca-Cola. Who got him hooked on that sweet, sweet nectar? Obviously, it was none other than Dwight D. Eisenhower. It's an anecdote that is pure perfection. Can you imagine if you had such a good reason for some lower-level vices that you needed to explain? "Ah, babe, I swear, I would not be spending all of this money on video games, but I get invited to play in Ben Franklin's Apex Legends squad, and I really needed to upgrade my rig. That dude slays out, by the way."
But, there was, of course, a major problem with Zhukov and his new love for Coke. It happened to symbolize everything the U.S.S.R stood against and represented the basest, most materialistic capitalism that America was known for. Not to be deterred, Zhukov figured he could make this a package deal by not only getting a direct line to President Truman in order to put in a call to a Coca-Cola plant to make him a clear coke, but he could also package it to look more like the vodka that his underling soldiers would be chugging. Zhukov would then get the win-win of nobody knowing that he was over there drinking that brown, American swill and not getting ludicrously loaded before doing soldier shit like the rest of his men were.
This is the only soda on this list that, even though it doesn't exist anymore, absolutely should because of the sheer brilliance and determination in getting it made. The rest of these are ... slightly lazier and far less carefully cultivated, to say the least.
Hubba Bubba, The Gum You Can Drink
The soda whose taste was somehow even worse than its marketing.
Bubble gum says everything you need, right in its name. It's gum. You chew it. You make bubbles. It loses flavor. You spit it out, and it waits for 5,000 years before we're all gone, and the only thing walking this planet are huge Big League Chew monsters and skyscrapers made of Amazon boxes. What isn't in the name is Swallowing Gum. Unless you were Hubba Bubba soda in 1987. In that case, then you are all about rewriting the rules of common decency and the social contracts we have all signed when we came into this world.
This was a soda not just based on gum, but on that standard, pink gum flavor that nobody outside of 1955 even actually likes. Hubba Bubba was meant to give you a fizzy, consumable option when you just could not get enough from simply chewing that shit. If you were a real gum fan, you had to suck the stuff back and suck it back quick. Or, at least, that's probably what they were going for before it hit shelves, and they soon realized that people were probably going to stick with chewing their chewing gum. It had worked pretty well up until this point. Hubba Bubba didn't end up lasting long, in what is probably the most fitting possible tribute for something based on gum you could hope for.
Orbitz, Soda With Pulp
Floating chunks. Nice hunks of things suspended in water. Just kind of bobbing around. Being in your liquid. Floatin' around and just waiting for you to take a delectable sip of them after taunting you so hard, what with their floatin' and bobbin'. This was probably the pitch of the drunken train hobo at the Orbitz office one day back in the late-90s. As you can tell from the picture above, the entire gimmick on this drink is that it would have gelatinous balls suspended by the magic (see: horrific chemicals) of soda ingenuity inside of it that you could just go ahead and suck back while you suck back your drink.
Now go ahead and read that pitch, then look at the soda, and try to figure out how this ended up on shelves at all. Where was the market for this? It's already a bridge too far for some people to drink pulp in their orange juice. Do you really think you can just start dropping random shit into their sodas, and they'll gulp it up? Have an average fruit soda that just isn't taking off in the market like you had imagined it would? Screw it, let's freeze little meth cubes and plop those turds in there and watch this soda rise to the top. If there is one thing that soda generally doesn't need, it's more sweetness. When you turn to soda, you are going in for an experience that is probably already going to tip the manageable levels of sugar-intake for your day, and unless you are a real bad boy or a GAMER, you are probably just fine as is. Orbitz said up yours, dumped a bunch of shit in your drink, and watched as absolutely nobody purchased their drink that had a bunch of weird shit dumped inside of it.
dnL, Not A Label Misprint
You know what was early-2000s as hell? Not giving a crap. If you gave a crap, you were crap. In the early-2000s, you had better be out there flipping the bird to the world and just full-on spraying hot attitudinal diarrhea on anyone and everything in your path, baby. This is the time when it was somehow "cool" to act like Kid Rock. Who is, essentially, an inflatable gas station mascot that's been imbued with the spirit of a rabid possum through a magical tank top. Take that kind of attitude and bring it to your soft drinks, and you've got 7up's hilarious failure, dnL. Yes, you're reading that right. You probably did not need to flip your computer monitor upside to get it, either.
In an attempt to SHAKE THINGS UP, a common trope we'll see a lot on this list, 7up did it in the most literal way possible by just flipping their logo upside down and adding caffeine to their drink in an effort to compete with Mountain Dew and the edgier drinks coming out at the time. This is your garbage uncle putting his hat on backward and sticking his hands in between his armpits to try and make a lame attempt at being like the kids. Obviously, it didn't work, and absolutely nobody bought this trash and this new look from a brand that is the very definition of inoffensive and lame in this space. That is what we like about 7up. We want a mild, light, crisp drink that serves up an alternative to everything else out there. Instead, it came back from summer vacation with a chain wallet attached to its butthole, and inside that wallet, it didn't even have money; it just had ticket stubs from Godsmack shows as currency. This was a short-lived attempt that will undoubtedly never see the light of day again.
Diet Coke Plus Green Tea Equals Terrible
Sipping on tea conjures up something of a delightful image. You may be sitting overlooking a body of water, just contemplating where you are, all the places you have to go. You could even be about to settle down into a nice read or an afternoon project with no one nearby to bother you. Sipping on a tea that's had Diet Coke poured into it feels like you are sitting in the middle of a bad reality show where some awful prankster is ruining universally-delightful things with shit that just doesn't belong. On the next segment in the show, you're going to be taking one of the best dumps of your life when a dude opens the door, lets a bunch of loose salmon on the ground, flopping around your feet, and ruins everything for you.
That loose salmon is Coca-Cola Plus Green Tea. Initially released in Japan, this never took off, probably because the name says everything you need to know about it. This is not a pairing of flavors that would excite anybody rational. They simply have no business together. Coke has had success pairing flavors that may at first appear to be on opposite ends of the spectrum, but that doesn't mean they can just abandon all society's rules on their way to doing so. At some point, they have become so big that they can likely try any combination under the sun and get it onto shelves within the month if they really want to. So Coca-Cola, if you're reading this, I'm going to need you to shut down that machine that's currently spinning up the Coke With Scrambled Eggs prototype because this one is not going to hit it big.
Shasta, The Soda Can That Looks Like Soup
In some alternate universe, Shasta is the king. Often used as a punchline from back in the day, this was a cola that tried to compete during the real territory wars of soft drinks. Shasta was the soda that you would consider rejecting as a kid. That tells you everything you need to know about this. There is no soda under the sun that most kids won't chug at any given moment, but Shasta would at least give you pause. You'd have to look up at the adult in the vicinity and wonder where it all went wrong for them. How they got themselves in a situation where they not only had kids in their lives but could serve them up nothing better than Shasta for their drink. Every great brand needs that lower-tier one that tries to gobble up the more affordable market, but then you have to get out the backhoe and dig to the center of the earth to find the Shasta tier of things.
This is a failure of the American people. That we allowed this brand to exist for so long when there were better options that may have cost a few cents extra or even budget ones that would compete and not have you left stocking your fridge with Shasta. When there are thousands of choices to turn to when it comes to finding the soda for you, there are no reasons to be left with a bad pick these days. In the world of soda, where all of this shit is so damn bad for you, the least you could do is enjoy how it tastes as it ravages you completely. That is the guilty pleasure we enjoy most about these things.
Top image: Clearly Food & Beverage Co., Keurig Dr. Pepper