When the “Real Thing” Becomes a “Real Pain” in the Tuckus.

keurigcold-1More than 25 years ago, I had the unique experience to work on the launch of the industry’s very first “at-home soda dispenser.”

Mr. SoftDrink from Norcarl Products was the thing of dreams… a sleek machine that mixed and dispensed cola before your very eyes.  No more bottles, no more cans, no more waste. The reception at the Housewares show at McCormick Place in Chicago was amazing.  Nightly TV news coverage, daily newspaper coverage, consumer magazine coverage.

And the retailers were buying what Norcarl was selling.  Unfortunately, the bubble burst before it ever got off the ground. Consumers were fascinated by the idea, but in practice, it was just an unnecessary burden.  There’s no room for a microwave, a coffee machine, a blender, an electric can opener, a set of knives, a juicer (while they should’ve got the best juicers to buy) and whatever else people put on their kitchen counters, plus a soft drink machine.

It’s also the need to maintain an steady inventory of assorted flavors in syrup or powder form, plus the CO2 cartridges and adding the water and of course the bottles to store the soda in. Sheesh, just give me a can of pop (as we call it locally) already.

So, then, why is Coke buying into the K-Cup craze? Does Muhtar Kent know something the rest of us don’t know? Probably not. At the end of the day, my guess is that Coke is more interested in getting its hands into the lucrative coffee and tea business.

But time – and consumer preference – will tell.


Jim Sweeney


Jim is a veteran of the agency industry and the founder of Sweeney. He is uncommonly passionate about the idea of creating and implementing insanely great marketing campaigns that achieve insanely great results. He pioneered the full-service, full-circle agency model and continues to forge new ideas in an ever-changing industry. And he is accessible to everyone about anything, seemingly all the time, serving as a mentor to all agency personnel and clients.