Sunday, March 10, 2013

CRUSHED BY THE COLA WARS

During the month of March, my posts focus on crushes. A few I should never admit, but one must be daring as a writer—even while being frivolous!

 

Sorry, Pepsi. I betrayed you. Twice.

The first time happened so long ago, you probably don’t remember. I mean, who can be held accountable for what they did in the ‘70s? Not quite the ‘60s, but still...

This moment of cleansing feels good. It needed to happen. You see, I have always had a clear preference for Pepsi. Not sure why, but the beverage always satisfied me. That was even confirmed by a couple of official Coke vs. Pepsi taste tests and multiple replications at parties. (Okay, full disclosure: my ‘70s weren’t so wild.)

It was Pepsi every time.

And yet I strayed. For a couple of years (yes, the affair dragged on), I was drawn to something purportedly peppier. At some point, we all dream of being with a doctor. I fell for Dr. Pepper.

I should have known better. In truth, the cola always tasted like they’d accidentally poured in a resistant child’s cherry-flavored cough syrup. Perhaps Dr. Pepper was that devious. But really, my soda tryst had nothing to do with the can’s contents. I was taken by the pitch person: David Naughton. Sigh. Such an adorable singer/dancer! Take a look at this commercial: dear Davy doesn’t appear until twenty-two seconds in (such a waste!), but it’s got Jimmie “ J.J.” Walker and roller skates thrown in to encapsulate a perfect ‘70s moment.

Not gay enough you say? Well, I had no gaydar back then. I’d like to think a struggling Hugh Jackman might have been the Dr. Pepper guy had he been born a generation earlier. And David Naughton did have a catchy disco credit as well. (If you've still got that Pepper jingle jangling in your head, watch this ad which includes a toast to San Fran.)

I totally ended my relationship with Dr. Pepper right about the time the spokesperson became a werewolf.  Luckily, Pepsi took me back. (Corporate entities have a different morality, you know.) I remained loyal until 1994 when I suffered another period of indiscretion.


I wanted to get Lucky. Didn’t we all? Like everyone else, I adored the iconic commercial spokesperson of the ‘80s, but I didn’t feel any bubbly excitement. (Thank goodness.) At long last, Lucky Vanous came along. Suddenly, 11:30 became my favorite time of day. I remember well this pre-Internet time. I lived with two gay roommates in L.A., although the duplex unit often housed boyfriends and between-apartment gay friends. The television always seemed to be on. Whenever someone yelled, “Diet Coke”, we’d scramble down the stairs, all of us soda-sanctioned Peeping Toms. No need to venture to West Hollywood to ogle a coke-fueled go-go boy. The Diet Coke Guy did it.

Sadly, even the best campaigns must end.

I did return once again to Pepsi, but things were never the same between us. My allegiance has waned, but not on account of a hunky pitch person. Polar bears are cute but I don’t need to dash to the TV or play YouTube clips on repeat to remember a manipulated “Ahh” moment. Instead, I have been sucked in by the Starbucks routine.

Message to coffee competitors: hire this guy or that guy if you want a spike in sales. I may still have wandering taste buds.

2 comments:

wordschat said...

Im old enough to remember David Naught on too.I wasn't out to myself then but in retrospect knew something was up both figuratively and literally. He later did a tune called Making it which was a pop song off the bubble gum light variety. Don't forget the BradyBunch's Mike Look inland in Kool-Aid ads.

Rural Gay said...

Hi Wordschat,
I don't remember the Brady Bunch guy's ad. I think I had a bigger thing for Greg Brady,...maybe even Robert Reed. Heck, maybe even poor Jan!

I boogied to "Makin' It" a few times this weekend while writing the post. Still catchy!