After hitting Texas state fairs this September, deep-fried Coke won the "most creative" title in Dallas. And it does sound creative, although I'm still a little confused as to what it is. MSNBC calls it a "gelatinous cola-infused snack" and Matt Corbin has a detailed photo essay on flickr that shows the truth: it's doughnut dough, mixed with Coke concentrate, fried, topped with whipped cream, and served in a soda cup.
While it's arguably great PR for Texas (they're creative! even if they won't live all that long, they sure are bigger and better), this can't really strike love and joy in the hearts of the PR folks at The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO). See, deep-fried with whipped cream on top isn't exactly the perfect brand image right now. Everyone's trying to be healthier, from The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS)'s campaign to take its Princesses off nutritionally unworthy snacks, to PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE:PEP)'s struggle to push baked options in the inner city, even and especially Coca-Cola itself, which is about to release its calorie-burning green tea drink, Enviga.
Fried Coke is absolutely no good for Coca-Cola, and I can't imagine what its Texas salesmen were thinking when they allowed the gigantic words "Fried Coke!" to be displayed on fairways all over the South. Deep-fried is going the way of high fructose corn syrup and trans-fatty acids, and the sooner Coca-Cola gets its marketing people behind that, the sooner the stock has any chance at all of hitting some high notes.
For now, I'll put my money in Pepsi.