Saturday, June 19, 2010

Liquid nostalgia

I would like to believe I am a savvy media consumer and not subject to marketing gimmicks, but of course I'm fooling myself if I think that. I don't remember the last time I bought Mello Yello, but when I saw the revamped late '70s packaging now adorning the soft drink's bottles, I couldn't resist buying one.

Granted, I've always been partial to Mountain Dew when it comes to highly caffeinated citrus-y carbonated beverages, but I remember drinking Mello Yello when I was a kid. I was kind of excited to see the old logo. Was the updated branding really what turned me away from it? Does the old logo, modified slightly for this relaunch, have that strong of a pull on me?

Probably the answer to both questions is yes, to a degree. I don't recall making a conscious choice to stop drinking Mello Yello, but from a design standpoint the modern logo does absolutely nothing for me and even irritates me. Maybe it did push me away. The new retro version of the logo is close to what I grew up with and generates some small waves of nostalgia. It sounds silly, but seeing it reminded me of my childhood and prompted a desire to drink it again, even if just once.

But it's just a soft drink, you exclaim. I know! I'm a fairly levelheaded person, yet something as relatively innocuous as changing the logo on a product to one from my youth was all it took to get me to buy it on impulse. I hadn't been craving Mello Yello and haven't been drinking it regularly. It may have been a decade since I last had one.

And that, dear readers, is why it's sort of terrifying to think how vulnerable we can be to advertisements and branding. Even if we guard ourselves against the attacks, something will sneak up on us when we least expect it and override our rationality.

Oh, and I might buy one again.

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