Jackie Huba

Customer activism surges

Some people are volunteering to save soon-to-be extinct varieties of their favorite product.

In a recent Beverage Magazine story, die-hard fans of Coca-Cola’s Surge soft drink have organized a grassroots campaign to save the drink.

The campaign website, SaveSurge.org, is better than most community political campaigns. The group has an email newsletter, lists of Surge sitings, template letters for local bottlers, and phone numbers and email addresses of Coca-Cola corporate managers — all to plead for saving the drink. As chronicled on the site, Coca-Cola corporate has sent form letters back to the fans saying basically “It’s out of our hands….the independent bottlers control what is sold locally.” Right.

If Coke were to devise a plan to bring the citrus-flavored, green-hued, caffeine-infused carbonated beverage back to life for its best customers, the buzz would be enormous. Even a plan for ordering the product from a web site could create tremendous word-of-mouse among Surge’s thirsty masses. Listen to your best customers and give them what they want? Now that’s a marketing idea.

Thanks to my cousin, Mark Huba of Suntory Water Group (maker of many brands of bottled water) for being an alert reader!

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