Tuesday, July 20, 2010

you make the rules

i had this conversation yesterday where i misheard a friend's response and thought that she was skeptical about an important idea of mine. it has occurred to me that, with the spread of things like soda flavored syrups, we now have the power to reverse engineer popular beverages. of course, my friend agreed that this was a good idea. perhaps owing to my own doubts, i didn't properly hear her enthusiasm for the concept.

it's important to understand what is at stake here. i'm not discussing actually figuring out the recipe for any given soda product, because that would obviously be counterproductive advice for an insider like myself to give. rather, it's a matter of getting exactly what you want.

i've always been annoyed at those places where soda fountains include squirters that let people add a dash of lemon or cherry syrup to their soda. if people want to doctor up a beverage, they should be doing it on their own. it's almost disingenuous for a store to offer you the chance to purchase a valued, respected brand of soft drink but simultaneously attempt to hook you with the promise of convenient ways to ruin that drink's flavor. let me tell you something: the folks who make all their money off of this stuff don't just randomly combine essential oils to create flavors. you're undoing inspired work when you mess with the product like that.

now, though, people do have a chance to take a more proactive role in the creation of a soft drink. go out and buy one of those pre-concentrated syrups, and maybe have a little on your ice cream. then, get some seltzer water or something and start mixing things together. if you're less adventurous, just buy the soda and the identical syrup. combine these to get the best taste possible. have fun, run a few experiments. maybe take a poll of your friends with your top three creations.

see the genius in this? it's great when a product's marketing team is able to produce something new - like a syrup for ice cream - that can also change and enhance the consumer experience with the original product. people don't have to throw away the expert-crafted formula for any soda to take an active role in re-engineering it as a final product. it's just a matter of having precision control over the experience, while maintaining the authentic experience you paid for when you made your purchase.

go have a soda, folks.

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