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February 28, 2024 43 mins
Thirty years ago, a new kind of soda arrived in select stores. Instead of crowing about how spectacular it was, it offered up a liquid shrug, a fizzy irony. OK Soda was an inside joke for people who knew soda wasn’t cool. But what exactly was the punchline? In today’s episode, we’re going to ask how Coca-Cola, a company predicated on the idea that soda is more than "OK," ever bankrolled such a project. It was either a corporate attempt to market authenticity or a bold send-up of consumer capitalism; a project that either utterly, predictably failed or, perhaps more surprisingly, almost succeeded. This episode was written by Willa Paskin. It was edited by Jenny Lawton. It was produced by Willa Paskin and Katie Shepherd, along with Evan Chung. Derek John is Executive Producer. Merritt Jacob is Senior Technical Director. You’ll hear from Sergio Zyman, Brian Lanahan, Robin Joannides Lanahan, Charlotte Moore, Peter Wegner, Todd Waterbury, Dustin Ness, and Matt Purrington. Special thanks to David Cowles, Art Chantry, Seth Godin, Jeff Beer, Gabriel Roth, Mark Hensley for all the OK Soda commercials and Mark Pendergrast, whose book For God, Country, & Coca-Cola was indispensable. If you haven’t yet, please subscribe and rate our feed in Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. And even better, tell your friends. If you’re a fan of the show, please sign up for Slate Plus. Members get to listen to Decoder Ring and all other Slate podcasts without any ads and have total access to Slate’s website. Your support is also crucial to our work. Go to Slate.com/decoderplus to join Slate Plus today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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