From Beyond the Grave.

Products come and go. Ad campaigns essentially begin as the sweaty, writhing act of copulation that gives birth to a product within the public awareness. Once born, though, advertising acts only as different levels of medical assistance, from bandage to full-fledged life support with a focus on preventing the untimely (though market dictated) death of its child-product. The problem is that advertisers are really shitty doctors, and these child-products lack adequate insurance to get the care they need to grow up strong. They can't even afford Flintstones Chewable Vitamins, let alone some sort of free-market interferon. But, since this health care metaphor is turning from a single yarn into a hideous Christmas sweater, I'll digress. Today, I began thinking of products that I remember fondly, but which were not long for this earth. Of course, none of these are staggeringly excellent. Were they, then the market machine would've have stayed their executions. The market isn't built for little guys, or the little nephews of big guys, or the individual tastes of small batches of consumers. Or, at least it wasn't back in the 1990s when the internet was fresh and new and great sites like kickstarter.com and Twitter were not yet tapping into the keen interests of the few and many.

With this in mind, a short list of products I recall fondly that no longer exist, some of which lasted only months before being locked away like that fellow in the iron mask:

  1. OK Soda - Remember this stuff? Maybe not... it wasn't released in many markets, but Denver was one of them. My pop-iconography riddled 12 year-old brain bought into the campaign immediately and I remember actually liking the way the "unique fruit soda" tasted. A neat tidbit: Popular writer/cartoonist Charles Burns of Black Hole fame did the can design.
  2. Arch Deluxe and other Deluxe McDonald's sandwiches - There existed a time when McDonald's decided that Happy Meals and McNuggets weren't attracting the right element. They needed a sandwich for adults that was more like a "restaurant burger" and for some reason was infused with seaweed extract. Talk about sophistication! And I remember loving those things while I listlessly lingered in the mall food court.
  3. The popularity of excite.com - Remember Excite, that upstart little search engine that could with the dramatic X? Pre-Google, it seems there were as many search engines running around the internet as there were porno sites. I loved Excite because for some reason it was the most popular search engine among my high school friends (It did the "best searches") and yes, I am disgustingly aware of how lame my high school years were at times, but then we were standing at the forefront of Tomorrow.
  4. The Montreal Expos - The strike in 1994 destroyed what could have been a truly great, long-lasting franchise. Back then they could field Larry Walker, Marquis Grissom and Moises Alou, and... AND start Pedro Martinez in his prime. The greatest chance this team had to win over the fans in Montreal and the greatest blow to baseball in recent memory did them in. Though technically the lack of interest was well-established, but the team just lost every great chance to be a dynasty despite a litany of solid players through the years. Now, repackaged as the Washington Nationals they have pieces, again, of a solid team, but assembly remains the final hurdle.
I said it was a short list. But, I'm hoping to provoke some thought out there and see what products any of you remember fondly long after they passed into that gentle product night. Any takers? Perhaps some of you remember Burma Shave and their rhyming ad campaigns (I do not, but it came up as a similar topic online to the OK Soda) or another product that was quirky, or at least pinpointed a brief understanding of the cultural lexicon. Drop a few on me, if you're so inclined.

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