Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Store Brand Soft Drinks: Great Taste, Stupid Names

Author: Nick
Category: Money

comic 25 - soft drink names

I’m a firm believer in choosing store-brand and generic products over similar name-brand items. That’s because, 97 times out of 100, the generic product is just as good as the more expensive fancy-label item. Nowhere is the similarity between generic and name-brand product quality more apparent than in soft drinks. Sure, some people insist that their favorite name brand of diet cola is tastier than any store brand, but those people usually shut up when I remind them they’re drinking heavily sweetened and colored sugar water for about 1,000 times the price of unsweetened, (hopefully) uncolored tap water. And if you’re like me and only drink soft drinks when they’re mixed with various types of alcohol, then you really don’t give a crap what the soft drink tastes like.

Most grocery stores, supermarkets, and other vendors of bottled soft drinks typically carry three or four lines of soft drinks: Coca-Cola, Pepsi, perhaps some other lesser-known name brand line, and a store brand. For example, most Wal-Marts carry three lines of soft drinks, one of which is its very own Sam’s Choice offering, likely named after its heavily caffeinated founder, Sam Walton. In fact, some say there’s a hint of Sam in every bottle, but I’m not really sure I want to know what that means.

If you walk into your average supermarket, you’ll find that the top brandmakers—Coca-Cola and Pepsi—typically retail their 2-liter bottles for somewhere between $1.29 and $1.99. More often than not, however, one or both brands are on sale, sometimes for less than half the regular retail price. On the other end of the aisle you’ll usually find the store brand soft drinks. Their normal retail price is usually under a dollar, sometimes as low as 60 or 70 cents on sale. Depending on what’s on sale at what time, it’s quite possible that the store brand sodas could be more expensive than the name-brand sodas, but I’d say this only happens about 10% of the time.

Regardless of price, taste, or any other factors, perhaps the most remarkable feature of generic and store-brand soft drinks is that they have the most retarded names for products you’ll ever hear in your entire life. No other generic products have such goofy, ridiculous, and often just plain stupid names as generic soft drinks. That’s because most generic products are comfortable with taking for their names what they are. For instance, my favorite supermarket’s brand of paper towels is called, wait for it, Paper Towels. And people will buy Paper Towels without question because it’s cheaper than Bounty or Brawny or Porny or any other name brand paper towel.

Not so for soft drinks. You can’t just stick a generic bottle of green soda on a shelf, call it Green Soda, and expect it to sell as well as Mountain Dew. That’s because most people won’t realize that your product is a pretty good clone of Mountain Dew. Unfortunately, you also can’t just call it Mountain Dew unless you want to get Mountain Sued by Pepsi. You could just slap a label on the bottle that says something like “Compare to Mountain Dew!” and hope people will make the connection. Or you can do what Sam Walton did and call your Mountain Dew rip-off something even more insane than Mountain Dew, like Mountain Lightning. Now Wal-Mart’s customers will know that that bottle of green liquid tastes like Mountain Dew, and Pepsi won’t suspect a thing since Dew and Lightning are totally different.

I wish Mountain Lightning was the stupidest store-brand soda name out there. In fact, it’s probably one of the best. If you don’t believe me, here’s a listing of some of the craziest store brand soft drink names organized by the name-brand colas they’re meant to imitate.

Coca-Cola Classic, Pepsi

  • Big Fizz Cola, Rite Aid
  • Bubba Cola, Save-A-Lot
  • Chek Mate Cola, Winn-Dixie
  • Go2Cola, Safeway
  • Rally Cola, Giant

7-Up, Sprite, Sierra Mist

  • Bubble Up, Dad’s Root Beer Company
  • Citrus Sling, Albertsons
  • Quist, Giant
  • Sun Pop, Stop & Shop
  • Twist-Up, Sam’s Choice
  • Vess Up, Vess

Mountain Dew, Mello Yello

  • Citrus Drop, Kroger
  • Heee Haw, Hy-Vee
  • Moon Mist, Faygo
  • Mountain Breeze, Safeway
  • Mountain Frost, Aldi
  • Mountain Fury, Roundy’s
  • Mountain Holler, Save-A-Lot
  • Mountain Lightning, Sam’s Choice
  • Mountain Lion, Food Lion
  • Mountain Maze, Albertsons
  • Mountain Mojo, Foodland (thanks, Angel!)
  • Mountain Roar, Harris Teeter
  • Mountain Yeller, Piggly Wiggly
  • Ramp, Giant
  • Rocky Mist, Meijer
  • Sundrop, Cadbury-Schweppes

Dr. Pepper, Mr. Pibb

  • Dr. Bob, Tops Markets
  • Dr. Bold, Albertsons
  • Dr. Chek, Winn-Dixie
  • Dr. Faygo, Faygo
  • Dr. K, Kroger
  • Dr. M, Meijer
  • Dr. Perky, Food Lion
  • Dr. Phizz, Schnucks
  • Dr. Riffic, Eckerd Drug
  • Dr. Rocket, Kmart
  • Dr. Skipper, Safeway
  • Dr. Smooth, Real Canadian Superstore (thanks, Susan!)
  • Dr. Thunder, Sam’s Choice
  • Dr. Topper, Clover Valley (Dollar General)
  • Dr. Wham, Buffalo Rock
  • Mr. aahh!, Giant Eagle
  • Mr. Pig, Piggly Wiggly

Am I missing any of your favorite wacky store brand soft drink names? If so, leave a comment here and I’ll add it to the list.

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