Thursday, September 22, 2005

Coke and Max Headroom: Poised for Disaster

Talk about the blind leading the blind. This is a case of two entities, both on shaky ground, banding together for the sake of merchandising. Who survived? Neither, really. In a sense, the partnership to many seemed to be a corporate sanctioned suicide pact between inanimate objects. Here are the happy details...

New Coke hit the shelves in April of 1985. By that July, the flame out was so pronounced that Coke and the original "Coca-Cola Classic" existed on the shelves concurrently. The Coke Classic still tasted great while some viewed "new" Coke as an abomination. Around the same time a pop culture icon was making its way to the US: Max Headroom. The first Max Headroom film was released in the UK in 1985. Throughout that time Headroom was making headway and he finally polluted the airwaves on a weekly basis in 1987. Despite the live characters in the ABC program, all that might be remembered is a snarky voice, courtesy of Matt Frewer and those effects which came from a Commodore Amiga program.


During the time Max Headroom was wearing out his welcome, he became the pitchman for Coke. The two made for an ubiquitous presence as seen pictured. The public clearly found the alliance toxic and had it with both of them by 1988. In short, one product made you hate the other--no question. Headroom was strewn with in between other pop culture cast offs like Sledgehammer and Spuds McKenzie. "New" Coke's sales fell off to ridiculous numbers and it finally left the shelves in 1990. At the present both "New" Coke and Max Headroom have something else in common; they are decidedly nostaglia proof yet totally deadly.

John Walsh surveys more damage wrought by the tag team of destruction...

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