(Photo from http://brohamnation.com/surge-we-hardly-knew-ye/)
Note: This post is a special request from my friend Michelle who wanted to see “Suraj on Surge”. Thanks for the inspiration - the subject is very near and dear to my heart.
1996 = Fate
In first grade all of my classmates really struggled with how to pronounce my name correctly (the correct way is “Sue-rudge”, where the “rudge” is pronounced like “budge”). In a desperate attempt to make it easier for them, I started pronouncing it “Sir-idge”.
My friends found this much easier to say, but little did I know that my name was about to get much easier for them to pronounce in 1996 when I entered 3rd grade, which was when I first experienced the soda Surge.
The delicious taste (and high caffeine levels) immediately won it a treasured place in my heart. Forget about Red Bull or 5 Hour Energy, in the 2nd half of the 90’s, Surge was all we needed to stay awake and go nuts. For people in my age group, Surge was the fuel for endless after school hangouts and late night sleepovers.
It also had the unintentional side effect of changing the way my name was pronounced forever as over time it turned from “Sir-idge” to simply “Surge” - not that I minded, of course. In fact, I embraced it as several of my student government campaigns in middle and high school revolved heavily around Surge related advertisements and posters.
By 2000, Surge was by far my favorite soda and I was drinking it multiple times a week.
2001 = Tragedy
It started off innocently enough. It was some time in 2001 and mom came back from the store without any of my favorite soda. No big deal - I didn’t think much of it at the time; I obviously I figured that Surge was too popular and the local Farm Fresh or Food Lion was overrun by caffeine-crazed teenagers who couldn’t get enough of the best soda in the world.
Next week, it happens again. I start to get worried. Finally, after a few months reality sunk in and I was crushed. The worst part was that they didn’t give us any warning! I would’ve stocked up on Surge cans for months if I had known my favorite soda was going out of existence.
Despite a fantastic name, delicious flavor, and a loyal, passionate fan base, Surge was discontinued - and at the tie I had no idea why.
So If It Was So Good Why Did It Fail?
Now that I’ve had 11 years to cope with the loss of Surge, let’s take a look at some potential reasons why Surge failed as a product:
*The high caffeine may or may not have been partly responsible for the massive upswing in ADHD diagnoses that began in the late 90s
**As an addict of Surge from 1996-2001 I really hope this was a rumor
It’s been a rough few years for us Surge fans. Right away there were several websites that popped up, including SaveSurge. However, despite repeated attempts to contact Coke management, Surge has remained discontinued.
Every once in a while when I’m in the soda aisle at the supermarket, I’ll see a green 2-liter and get excited. But alas, it normally is just something stupid like Vault.
However, in 2011 some glimmers of hope appeared for us fans as a new Facebook Group called SurgeMovement was created to try and bring back Surge.
I wonder what would happen if Surge were released as a new product in 2012. Granted, people are even more health conscious and concerned about sugar/caffeine than ever before, but Surge seems like a product that could thrive with the help of social media. I can easily imagine several clever, high-energy, cost-effective advertising campaigns that could quickly gain traction (especially on Youtube and twitter).
Plus, it fits right in with our Red Bull / Monster / 5-Hour Energy culture, and I’m sure it would be a great mixer if you’re trying to rage. I think Coca-Cola should definitely bring Surge back, especially as it doesn’t seem they have any real answer to Mountain Dew. I mean, when was the last time anyone saw anyone drink Mello Yello? And check this out, people are still tweeting pictures about it here and clamoring for it here - we can’t get enough of it!
In any case, I definitely have some nostalgia about Surge. I don’t often drink sodas, but when I do...I prefer drinking a Surge.
Are there any other products from your childhood that you think would succeed if they were re-introduced today?