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Wednesday, April 26th, 2006

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Coca-Cola BlāK, or is it BlãK?
I commented on uniqueblog's journal about the new Coca-Cola product, combining "coke effervescence with coffee essence." First off, though it lives up to its description, tasting like coke mixed with coffee, it also tastes terrible. One critic hit it on the head when he described it as coke mixed with pure coffee flavoring, giving it an overall completely artificial taste. Where Coke came up with this idea is beyond me, though I would assume they found a bistro in France somewhere (as the product was first introduced there) and decided that it was a good idea. Note to the Coca-Cola company: you were wrong.

What bothers me more, though, is their use of an ambiguous and unneccessary diacritical mark. In their text, it looks like a bar (BlāK), which would elongate the A, making the pronunciation "Blake." In their logo design, however, they use the traditional Coke ribbon, which in this instance looks like a tilde (BlãK). That nasalizes the A, which automatically hints of an N between the A and the K, making it "Blanc." Blanc is, of course, white in French.

I know they're not going for either of these pronunciations (particularly the French), and that it's supposed to be "black," as in black coffee. Nonetheless, they've already X-TREME'd the word (it's a verb now) by dropping the C and capitalizing the K: BlaK. Did they REALLY need to put in a (hip, rad, X-TREME) diacritical mark to further screw it up? Honestly, I thought gratuitous diacritical marks ceased to be cool when umlauted Mötley Crüe, Blue Öyster Cult, Motörhead and Spın̈al Tap faded into obscurity. They might as well have used Cryllic symbols to really give it that hardcore Russian look: BlДK (Д, by the way, is the hard D sound in Russian, making the pronunciation of the word the sound that I made when I first tried the drink.)

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