May 2, 2014

The Guerrilla Movement To Bring Back “SURGE”


All of the social media with which we surround ourselves can be overwhelming.  Too many people to follow on Twitter, too many Facebook friends changing their profile pictures to images of their children (the worst), too many Instagrammed lunches, and too many hashtags. It can be exhausting.

But I don’t see it that way. I see us more connected than ever, with more information at our disposal – and as a rule, I try not to be afraid of information. Context is key, though. It’s up to us to contextualize our digital lives; we have to filter through the deluge and find what’s really important. We have to find hope.

Which begs the philosophical question: In our modern, always on, always connected society, where do you look for hope?

Personally, I turn to two places:

  1. Batman
  2. The SURGE Movement

Batman should be pretty self-explanatory. He’s Batman. The SURGE Movement, however, is admittedly a bit of a head-scratcher at first, but let me explain. For those of you who don’t know, SURGE is a carbonated beverage that was sold from the mid-to-late ’90s, and was discontinued in 2003. I’ve always thought of it as less “soft drink” and more “lifestyle choice.”

In the ’90s, SURGE was just one of many of Coca-Cola’s b-team sodas that had an ambiguous flavor (citrus, I guess?).  What really made SURGE stand out from the crowd, however, was a decidedly Real World, Road Rules, post-Grunge, MTV, Gen X marketing campaign. Sadly, despite its classically ’90s tagline of “Feed the Rush!” it did little to succeed as a stand-alone product, and had a tragically short, six-year lifespan.

On the Internet, though, hope springs eternal.

Currently, there are over 125,000 people on Facebook who’ve liked the SURGE Movement, and I proudly count myself among them.  According to a 2012 estimate, that’s more than the population of Stamford, Connecticut.  Every other day I’m treated with a new, staggeringly inspirational post on my newsfeed urging the masses to call Coca-Cola and inundate them with requests to “Bring SURGE Back!”  With each post, more and more people are answering the clarion’s call and joining the cause. These modern day heroes, these soldiers of justice, relentlessly fight an uphill battle – by all accounts untenable – with unwavering conviction. It’s beautiful to watch, it really is.

Coca-Cola is an absurdly massive corporation, and they don’t care about 125,000 people on the Internet.  That number is a mere drop in the bucket to them.  This “movement” doesn’t have any real chance at success. But to the folks at The SURGE Movement, it’s about so much more than getting a drink back on the shelves.  It’s about a simpler time before all of this social media posting and hashtagging and every female 20-something I know being excessively obsessed with Ellen (“I love the way she dances!”).  It’s about a time when we unironically used words like “radical,” wore sunglasses that made us look extreme, and teen girls everywhere believed with all their hearts that Ricky Martin was heterosexual. It’s about hope.

To keep that hope alive, this new generation of believers has turned to social media, the very tools that ironically could have saved SURGE from extinction in 2003 – if only they’d existed at the time. So keep it up, dreamers.  Keep fighting the good fight.  Keep calling “The Man” and urging him to “Bring SURGE Back!”  Tweet it.  Post it.  Hashtag it.  Shout it from the rooftops. Without people like you, the Internet would be a little less awesome.  I salute you, and leave you all with these wise words from a bygone era, imploring you, before it’s too late, to “feed the rush.”