Happy 25th Birthday Diet Coke!

Twenty five years ago today, Diet Coke was introduced to the world at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Just four years later, it became the #1 low-calorie sparkling beverage in the world, a title it continues to hold to this day.

I am definitely a fan of Diet Coke. I have been drinking mostly Coke Zero lately, but I enjoy a Diet Coke every now and then. It has a very distinct taste that I think is fairly divisive: either you like it or you don’t.

Diet Coke is about more than beverages however:

“Since its launch, Diet Coke has been synonymous with stylish sophistication,” said Katie Bayne, chief marketing officer, Coca-Cola North America. “Through the years, Diet Coke marketing and advertising has reflected and embraced pop culture, and the brand has become a global icon that embodies great cola taste with an undeniable sense of style.”

Ah yes, pop culture. Numerous celebrities have endorsed Diet Coke, and the drink itself has become something of a celebrity recently – along with its good friend Mentos, that is. Oh by the way, if you like the image I included in this post (and who doesn’t) then check out the video.

If you have some time to waste, check out the Wikipedia entry for Diet Coke. I had no idea there were so many sub-brands, for instance. Lots of interesting information.

I still haven’t seen Diet Coke Plus anywhere, but I’d like to give it a try. Hopefully it shows up in Edmonton soon. Oh and Cherry Coke Zero too.

Happy Birthday Diet Coke!

Read: Coca-Cola

Clever Marketing: Diamond Shreddies

Post ImageOn my way to the Stadium LRT parking lot I always pass a billboard…no surprise there, billboards are everywhere. Usually I just ignore it, because most billboard ads just don’t catch my eye after the first time I see them…again, no surprise. For the last few weeks though, I have laughed every single time I’ve seen this particular billboard. I finally took a couple photos today. The billboard is a bright gold and blue ad for “Diamond Shreddies”:

Recent advances in cereal technology have allowed us to take Shreddies cereal to a whole new level of geometric superiority. One taste and you’ll wonder how you’ve been so square for so long. Welcome to the 45th degree. Welcome to Diamond Shreddies country.

I love this campaign! Apparently they have TV commercials too (which I haven’t seen). I think it’s an incredibly creative way to spice up something familiar and old. Good job Kraft!

Read: Diamond Shreddies

Chicken Snack Wrap

Post ImageI haven’t been watching much TV lately, so if there were commercials for McDonald’s new Chicken Snack Wrap, I didn’t see them. The first time I had heard of the sandwich was when I stopped in for a quick dinner last night. Apparently I had good timing, because this press release is dated yesterday!

In an effort to meet increasing demands from Canadian customers for quality food they can eat on-the-go, McDonald’s Canada today introduced a highly-portable snacking option with the launch of the new Chicken Snack WrapT.

The new Chicken Snack Wrap, available at participating McDonald’s restaurants across Canada beginning April 10 for only $1.79 plus tax, has warm, juicy seasoned and breaded all-white chicken breast meat, topped with a creamy ranch sauce, crisp lettuce, shredded Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, all freshly wrapped in a soft, flour tortilla.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I gave it a chance. And I quite enjoyed it! It tastes real, as bad as that sounds, not like something you’d normally get at McD’s. According to their nutrition calculator, the Chicken Snack Wrap will set you back 320 calories.

The only thing I would change would be to make it $1.39 like all of the times on the Real Deal menu.

Read: McDonald’s

Am I the only one who cannot open a box of KD?

You might think that is a funny question to ask, but I am serious. On the side of every box of Kraft Dinner, there is a little tab with a message that reads:

Press in tear back top/Enfoncer et tirer vers le haut

Problem is, it never works. I can never get the tab to push in. I have even tried using a knife to cut the edges of the tab in order to push it in, and it still doesn’t work properly. As a result I always end up fighting with the top of the box.

  

What’s the point of having the message if it doesn’t work?

Meth Coffee

Post ImageCould they not come up with another name? Will people actually buy this coffee simply because it has the word “meth” in its name? I found this via Agenda Inc., in a post titled “First Cocaine energy drink, now Meth Coffee.” That about sums it up – what in the world is going on with the marketing industry!

If you’re just trying it for the first time, don’t throw back five cups like regular coffee. Ease into it. Have a little. Feel the rush, the euphoria, the smooth-edged high. Then go for more, if you want. Yeah, get into it. Make a dance up…program in assembly language…write your first novel…plot to overrule the planet.

Of course, as the About page points out:

CONTAINS NO ACTUAL METHAMPHETAMINES, I.E., CRANK, GLASS, SPEED, CRYSTAL, BATU, SHABU, MABU, CRACKHOO, ETC. PRODUCT NOT WARRANTED TO CURE ECZEMA, EDEMA, ACNE, CONSTIPATION, TOURETTE’S, OR GUM DISEASE.

Thanks for clearing that up. For a second there I thought I could actually get coffee with meth in it!

What’s next, the XTC Hamburger?!

Read: Meth Coffee

Breakfast at Starbucks

Post ImageWhen I go to Starbucks I order coffee and nothing else. I avoid the pastries because, well, they suck. Even the rice krispie squares, which are one of my favorite treats, just aren’t very good at Starbucks. I’d definitely be willing to try one of their new breakfast sandwiches though (via Starbucks Gossip):

In the frenzy of grab-and-go breakfast that seizes the nation each morning, the trek from Starbucks (for coffee) to McDonald’s or another destination (for food) has become a familiar one. Even as Starbucks has developed a mass following for its dark, super-roasted coffee and its iced, frothed, blended and flavored offspring, the company has struggled to get its food up to par.

Thus, the latest move by Starbucks is a big one: challenging McDonald’s by introducing hot egg-and-cheese sandwiches on English muffins, just as McDonald’s is promoting its new higher quality coffee.

And from the sounds of things there is more food on the way. They don’t have kitchens in the stores, but instead have invested in “high-speed, high-heat” ovens. It appears as though lots of effort has gone into solving the no-kitchen-problem, and even McDonald’s is impressed with the solution Starbucks has come up with:

“It’s a fine technology,” admitted Mr. Thompson of McDonald’s. “We won’t use it, but it’s surprisingly good.”

I’m a big fan of the Egg McMuffin, but who knows, maybe the Starbucks ovens can really produce something good. Hopefully some of the Canadian Starbucks stores get updated soon so I can find out!

Read: NY Times

Inventor of instant noodles has died

Post ImageSome sad news today for anyone who has survived on instant noodles. Momofuku Ando, the man who invented the world’s first instant noodles, has died of a heart attack at age 96:

Born in Taiwan, Ando founded his company in 1948 from a humble family operation. Faced with food shortages in post-World War II Japan, Ando thought a quality, convenient noodle product would help feed the masses.

In 1958, his “Chicken Ramen” — the first instant noodle — was introduced after many trials. Following its success, the company added other products, such as the “Cup Noodle” in 1971.

Apparently he enjoyed his last Chicken Ramen on Thursday. I know I’ve survived on instant noodles at one time or another – they’re just so handy! Thank you Mr. Ando!

Read: Yahoo News

Starbucks: 87,000 Drink Combinations

Post ImageAnd you thought deciding between a Grande and a Venti was hard! In the December 18th issue of Time there is a really great article about Starbucks and the challenges it faces as it grows. Currently there are around 12,440 locations worldwide and the goal is to expand to 40,000 – more than even McDonald’s. Also included in accompanying graphics are some interesting stats, such as the number of drink combinations:

Historically, Starbucks has done a great job at balancing new ideas with efficiency, says Frances Frei, a professor at Harvard business school who has studied the company. A classic example: the way it trains us to order in Starbucks jargon, grande this and half-caff that. Serving tens of thousands of possible drink combinations would be an operational nightmare were it not for a regimented logic to ordering, a marketing flourish that helps establish the atmosphere of an Italian cafe.

I always chuckle when people walk into Starbucks and order a non-fat, extra-hot, double-shot, no-whip, blah blah blah kind of drink. Why do they even bother drinking the coffee? I had never really thought about these combinations from the perspective of Starbucks, however. When you consider the 87,000 possible combinations, it’s amazing that half of Starbucks locations average 3 minutes per customer (less than 60% do according to the article).

I’ll probably still chuckle when someone orders what sounds to me like an incredibly complex drink, but at least now I’ll know this: it could have been worse!

Read: Time

Diet Coke Plus – Coming Spring 2007

Post ImageAs you may or may not know, I’m a pretty hardcore Coke addict (cola and brand). I like just about everything Coke-related, including Diet Coke. Most of my friends say they don’t like the taste, but I do! And starting next year there will be even more reasons to enjoy Diet Coke with a new addition to the product line:

Diet Coke Plus, as the drink is called, will be “the first nutrient-enhanced carbonated soda to be offered by a major brand” and will not replace the current Diet Coke, which is the best-selling sugar-free soda in the world.

By nutrient-enhanced, they mean fortified with vitamins and minerals. Assuming it tastes like normal Diet Coke, I’d give it a try!

Read: Slashfood

Podcast: Making a Quiche

Post ImageIf you think I can’t cook, think again! I’m an absolute whiz with the microwave! Heh, but seriously, a few days ago my friend Sharon and I got together to make dinner. She suggested quiche, and I said what? Haha! It actually turned out pretty good. We took a bunch of pictures of the cooking process, mainly because we don’t cook with any regularity. The next day it occurred to me that I could turn this into an interesting podcast episode!

It turns out that I rather like the format of this episode, so I intend to use it for future episodes. I am calling them photo stories, for obvious reasons. Have a suggestion for a topic? Let me know!

Enjoy!

Read: MasterMaq’s Podcast