Jewish World Review July 31, 2002 / 22 Menachem-Av, 5762

Ian Shoales

Ian Shoales
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Consumer Reports

Yearning for a nostalgic American product that was neither | I don't know if you remember Fanta- I thought it was right up there with Spuds McKenzie, Nehi, Fudruckers and the Edsel, but according to Slate Magazine, it's not only still around, there's a new push to promote it.

Fanta, of course, is a carbonated soft drink-orange being the best-known flavor-that is huge globally, but not so popular here.

I didn't know this, but Fanta was created by GmbH, a Coca Cola affiliate in Germany during World War II. Foreign-owned (not to mention American-owned) companies found it hard to get materials and ingredients during the war, so the affiliate made its own brand, from whatever materials were lying around. The name Fanta was suggested by a salesman, for Fantasie. Fanta was bottled all through the war, and afterwards was resurrected in Italy in 1955, after things cooled down a bit, Nazi-wise.

New ads promoting Fanta feature Spice Girly girls who "offer a Fanta to various young men in sweaty situations." I haven't seen the spots, but Slate says they're fun in a kicky retro kind of way.

Remember when it was believed that Volkswagens had been invented by Hitler's minions as a kind of Nazi dream car for small efficient families? Whether that rumor is true or not, the perception did not stop hippies from snapping the bugs up back in the sixties, because they were kind of cute-- not something you associate with Nazis as a rule.

Fanta has less baggage than that, of course, the Coke has kind of downplayed the "soft drink of choice for the Third Reich" angle in its promotion, saying only on its web site that Fanta was "acquired by Coke in the forties."

Now the forties and the sixties are both long gone, long enough time has passed for PR folks to fashion a past that nobody ever really had, to sell us pretty much anything their fuzzy focus sets its heart on.

Given a choice, singing and dancing 60s or 70s-ish babes in matching outfits are probably going to move a lot more soda than images of shell-shocked Berliners sipping orange drinks as they wander aimlessly in rubble, or goose-stepping storm troopers sipping soda in unison as they march to their doom on the Russian front, or the Manson family chugging cold ones at Spahn Ranch. But then that's the idiot genius of capitalism, isn't it?

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JWR contributor Ian Shoales is the author of, among others, Not Wet Yet: An Anthology of Commentary. Comment by clicking here.


07/24/02: Voicemail heaven?
07/18/02: At the movies with your friendly neighborhood curmudgeon
07/12/02: King of Kitsch
07/09/02: Musicians' brains
07/01/02: Where's my cow?
06/24/02: Modern record stores can be a scary proposition
06/21/02: Life IS a movie?
06/19/02: Spreading fertilizer on a dictionary to try to raise a novel
06/17/02: Happy cows are really miserable?
06/12/02: Very similar to a rock
06/05/02: Of Humice and Men
05/30/02: Pooches in sharkskin suits and the end of dog tags
05/22/02: We baby boomers used to rule the roost
05/20/02: The Files now Ex
05/14/02: Entangled in Spider-Man's web!?
05/02/02: April Showers May Come Our Yadda Yadda
04/24/02: From child murderer to milk hawker
04/10/02: New realities
03/21/02: You did it your way? I have to kill you now!
03/12/02: Life in the warehouse
01/28/02: Shoes and food
01/24/02: Suspension of disbelief has nothing to do with whether we accept something as real or not
01/22/02: Save the Grand Ole Opry?
12/15/01: If you truly want to appeal to the lowest common denominator
12/11/01: KNITTING!
12/07/01: Conspiracy by the 'fat suit' lobby?
12/04/01: The future of comic books
11/15/01: Literary tips in a jar
11/12/01: The ectoplasm of a ghost economy
11/05/01: Sumner Redstone's passions
10/31/01: My irony
10/29/01: Even in wartime, America can still bring it home
10/25/01: Ad memories
10/17/01: Pathetic me
10/08/01: War time lite
10/01/01: Confessions of a sarcastic scribe
09/11/01: The end of Mom
09/07/01: Boy Loses Girl, Boy Bites Girl, Boy Gets Girl
09/05/01: Virtual elegance?
08/28/01: Buzz!
08/23/01: Radio workout
08/20/01: I robot, you Jane
08/15/01: A wild and crazy world!
08/10/01: When the future was "as real as a dime"
08/08/01: Garage Dearth!
08/06/01: That Big Clock
08/02/01: Stop the pop!
07/31/01: Catchphrase history of the world
07/26/01: The Bride of Science
07/23/01: That java jive
07/17/01: Homogenized hegemony
07/13/01: Applying Newton's First Law of Physics to textbooks
07/10/01: The dumb and the dead

© 2001, Ian Shoales