Coca-Cola Blak
Coca-Cola Blak aims to get coffee lovers into a fizzy tizzy.
By Brian Tracey Business Editor
updated 12/8/2005 8:28:50 PM ET 2005-12-09T01:28:50

Many might have thought Coca-Cola was being a soda jerk for canning Vanilla Coke last month, but now we know the reason behind the move: The company was clearing space on supermarket shelves for a coffee-flavored drink called Coca-Cola Blak.

Apparently tired of losing the thirst-share of Generation X-ers addicted to Starbucks and Red Bull, the beverage behemoth will launch Coca-Cola Blak in coffee-craving France next month, with a worldwide rollout soon to follow.

"We believe we have created a new category of soft drink — an adult product in a carbonated beverage — and a whole new drinking experience.  This brand is ideal for any part of the day when people are looking for renewed energy or simply to take a break," said Marc Mathieu, vice president of global core brands.

We assume when he says "any part of the day," he means anytime that does not precede sleeping.

No-so bad ideas

  • But what to eat with your caffeine-crammed concoction? British retailer Tesco has the answer: A "singing sandwich."

Using technology similar to that used in musical greeting cards, Tesco said it will pack sandwiches in cartons that are programmed to play a musical selection on opening.

The first offering will be a tuneful turkey and cranberry sandwich with accompaniments of "Jingle Bells," "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas."

With an estimated 1 million workers eating lunch at their desk each day in the U.K., the idea has marketing potential for record companies looking for an offbeat way to launch songs by new artists, said a Tesco spokesman.

Future sandwich and song combinations under consideration include "Prawn To Be Wild," "Let It Brie" and that old Julio Iglesias favorite, "Fillings," Tesco said. Sorry, but we see food fights coming to a cubicle near you.

  • Now that you've digested your harmonious ham and cheese, what next? How about paying a visit to a computerized commode?

    For a mere $5,000, the Neorest toilet from Japanese company Toto automatically lifts its lid when you approach it, and automatically flushes and lowers the lid upon completion. (We can hear wives and girlfriends applauding everywhere.)

    A remote control sets the temperature of the seat and also activates a gentle cleansing process with a wand that extends from the back of the rim and sprays water upward, followed by an air dryer. Who needs paper?

    The Arizona Republic reported that sales of the Neorest have been slow at a local retailer, possibly because it costs more than a low-mileage used car.

    But the costly commode reportedly has found some converts among Hollywood celebrities, including actor Will Smith, who gushed about it during an interview on Access Hollywood. The high-tech toilets are also installed in the main headquarters of Google, possibly the end result of the $400-a-share company being flush with cash.

Reuters contributed to this report.


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