I make no bones about it: Ours is a Coke household, and while there may be an occasional Fresca or off-brand root beer that sneaks into the house from time to time, we are happy to support the secret formula from Atlanta exclusively. There have been times when, as a friend or party guest has shown up on our doorstep with a two-liter bottle of Pepsi, we have welcomed the other cola in as a matter of decorum, but it is never a conscious choice. There are, by contrast, a number of friends and family who hear that I am on my way to their house and consequently they rush out to grab a six pack of Coca-Cola just for me.
"You don't drink Diet Coke?" In a word, "No." In many more words, I don't choose to drink Coke because it will make me healthier, happier or change my life in any noticeable way. It may be a reaction to that Pepsi slogan that insisted that they were the choice of a new generation. I am not that generation. I rode through that whole "New Coke" nonsense with a certain measure of forgiveness, but was relieved when the regular, unleaded version reappeared.
That's why I had mixed feelings about the new white can. In spite of being the world's most recognizable brand, the Coca-Cola company takes little risks every holiday season with the paint on the side of their cans. Santa, or polar bears or snowflakes, they feel compelled to remind us all as we stock up for the high-carbonated-holiday season that we are buying something special. This is Coke with something wintry on the side. It tastes fresher. Colder. Coke-ier. But apparently this time they powers that be went too far. People were confused by the white can, because it looked a little too much like Diet Coke. Or didn't look enough like The Real Thing. Or it was just different and therefore scary. Again, we all remember New Coke. And Coke Zero. And all those other excuses for soda that is not Coke that we love. It's supposed to be a red can, with a white logo in that distinctive script. Otherwise it could be anything. Maybe something healthy, and that would be too terrifying for words. So imagine some gagging sound effects here.