Saturday, October 06, 2007


World o’ Coke 2

What with the Poppa d’Elisson - Eli hizzownself - in town along with Missus Eli, She Who Must Be Obeyed and I did not want to do what we typically do on weekends. Namely, spend the first half of Saturday in shul, followed by a string of shopping expeditions, meaningless errands, and (perhaps) a short nap. After all, who wants to appear boring, excessively religious, and dissolute in front of the Parental Units?

So instead, we took a jaunt to midtown in order to check out the New and Improved World of Coca-Cola.

The new World of Coca-Cola, for those who give a Rat’s Ass, replaces a previous incarnation that was located hard by Underground Atlanta, a mostly failed attempt at Gentrification by Shopping. The new version is adjacent to the city’s biggest (and now second newest) tourist draw, the Georgia (“Biggest Honkin’ Fishtank on the Planet!”) Aquarium.

You have to hand it to the Coke Folks. They’ve managed to create a combination Museum and Corporate Sideshow that successfully gets people to pay for admission into what is, in essence, a highly concentrated Advertising-Rich Environment. It is, in fact, a celebration of advertising, a veritabobble Hog Wallow o’ Promotion.

But it’s also a slick, entertainingly packaged look at the history of a corporate American Icon, a cultural export that has effectively brought a slice of America to the world. That slice of America that causes people to want to ingest heavily sugared carbonated beverages, anyway. And as such, it’s worth a look.

Buying tickets online was a snap. And even better, I exercised, for the very first time, my ability as a Senior Classic Citizen to purchase a ticket at a discount. Oh, boy! Hey, two bucks is two bucks...enough to buy a dose of Geritol, or a tall, refreshing glass of Prune Juice.

I’m always fascinated by the Knowledgeable Backward Look at a successful enterprise, the delving back to the roots of a business that, by dint of having a good product and the people to market it effectively, takes over the world. What would John Pemberton have thought if he could have known that one day, his drugstore-spawned beverage would be available in dusty, far-off lands where lactating mothers are reduced to chewing rocks for nourishment?

In addition to the museum-style displays, there are a couple of movie shows. One, a clever computer-animated fantasy (“Behind the Scenes at the Happiness Factory”) that casts itself as a documentary-style look at what happens when you shove that coin into the Coke machine, is pretty much the first thing you see when you enter the building. The second, a “4-D” Movie Experience (a 3-D movie coupled with seats that shake, move up and down, and schpritz you with blasts of air and water droplets at appropriate times) is amusing mainly for its technical excellence, less so for its underlying theme: Coca-Cola is the Best Fucking Beverage in the Entire Universe.

But all this soda pop-a-ganda got me to thinking. What other Iconic American Products are out there, as yet uncelebrated by a museum-cum-circus spectravaganza?

How ’bout Ex-Lax?

I can see it now, conveniently located (where else?) in Brownsville, Texas: the World of Ex-Lax (the Chocolated Museum). From its humblest beginnings, when some prankster decided to bury a load of yellow phenolphthalein in some unsuspecting victim’s chocolate bar, to the multi-mega-million-dollar division of the multi-mega-billion-dollar company we all know and love so well today.

Come to Brownsville, where you can “Give your Dookie its Due!” The Ex-Lax Museum wants you!

[More pix below the fold.]

World o’ Coke 1

World o’ Coke 5

World o’ Coke 4

World o’ Coke 3

World o’ Coke 6

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