ATLANTA—At a press conference Monday, the Coca-Cola company unveiled Coke Mandatory, a new version of its signature soft drink "as refreshing as it is obligatory."
"Yes, Coke has done it again," said Gerald Hasworth, Coca-Cola vice-president of product development. "We've taken the classic taste the whole world knows and loves and made it so irresistible, you won't be allowed to go a day without it."
Hasworth then held up a two-liter bottle of Coke Mandatory to the assembled reporters and said, "Coke Mandatory: You'll Have No Other Option Than To Love It."
Though possible repercussions for failing to meet daily Coke Mandatory consumption requirements have not been formally announced, Hasworth stressed that one 12-ounce can of Coke Mandatory per day is "essentialicious," and that those who fail to comply with minimum daily allotments "will wish they'd done as they were told."
According to Coca-Cola CEO Douglas Daft, the company plans to establish a massive distribution infrastructure to bring Coke Mandatory directly to the consumer.
"Coca-Cola is bringing back the milkman," Daft said. "But instead of milk, each month, a delivery driver will drop off a 28-, 30-, or 31-pack of Coke for each person in the household. It's perfect for your family's Coke Mandatory consumption lifestyle."
Daft noted that the home-delivery receptacle, a sturdy aluminum Coca-Cola box, is sure to be an "extremely attractive and required" addition to American porches. The receptacles' cost, he said, will be conveniently added to the first month's delivery charge.
Easing the fears of parents who believe Coke is not an ideal beverage choice for infants and toddlers, Hasworth stressed that Coke Mandatory is optional for children under 2. However, within the next year, Coke Mandatory Jr., a cola-flavored milk product enriched with essential vitamins and corn syrups, will be available and compulsory for those 2 and under.
Though he encouraged consumers to enjoy other Coca-Cola products, Hasworth noted that Diet Coke, Sprite, Cherry Coke, Minute Maid orange soda, Surge, Mello Yello, Hi-C, and Mr. Pibb are not acceptable substitutes for the required daily allotment of Coke Mandatory.
In the wake of Coke Mandatory's introduction, other soft-drink companies have followed suit with their own compulsory beverages. Pepsi Must has already been test-saturated in New York, Los Angeles, and seven other U.S. markets. Meanwhile, Shasta and Fanta have merged to produce Hafta, slated to hit store shelves in early 2002.
Appalled by the new Coke product and other such required soft drinks, Royal Crown announced plans to release RC Optional, an exact replica of the current RC Cola with new packaging that "will surely appeal to American consumers' strong sense of liberty and self-determination."
Despite such opposition, Hasworth said Coca-Cola is "extremely excited" about the prospects for Coke Mandatory.
"I think that we learned a valuable lesson back in the '80s when we released New Coke," Hasworth said. "We learned that the only way to ensure that people will consume a new product is to make it non-optional. We are confident that Coke Mandatory is so good, the American people will not be able to resist."