I was recently watching The Simpsons on Simpsons World and I saw the episode about prohibition called Homer vs. the Eighteenth Amendment. In this episode of The Simpsons, the beer manufacturer, Duff, has to stay in business during probation. They do this by offering a product called Duff Zero. As a Duff spokesperson says, “We’re not worried. Our customers buy Duff for its robust taste, not its alcoholic content. I predict our alcohol-free Duff Zero will sell even better than its previous brand.” They immediately go out of business.
My first reaction was that this must have been a parody of Coke Zero. Then I thought about when Coke Zero would have debuted. I remembered that in college, somewhere from 2003-2008, Coke gave out free samples of a product they were trying out called C2. Turns out this would have been the spring of 2004 (thanks Wikipedia). C2 was the less successful precursor to Coke Zero. When I tried C2, I remember thinking specifically, “Wow this tastes just like Coke.” Then a few minutes later thinking, “This makes my stomach hurt.” (This was the first time I realized I hated sugar alternatives. College is so crazy.) Coke Zero came out a year later, in 2005.
Now, Homer vs. the Eighteenth Amendment is one of the all time classic episodes of The Simpsons (most famous for the lines, “To alcohol! The cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems;” and “It must have been that bean I had for dinner.”). As most people are aware, by the early 2000’s, there weren’t many classic episodes of The Simpsons left. As it turns out, Homer vs. the Eighteenth Amendment originally aired on March 16, 1997.
So, what I’m saying is, The Simpsons already did it. And not only that but no one has written about this before! (I tried Googling it and didn’t find anything about it.) Now someone has. Let it be known forever that Coke got the idea for its soda brand from The Simpsons!
I am not a child nor do I have children, so my sense of what makes a commercial for kids’ toys these days is skewed. My only reference for this