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Flashback To The Fountain: Dirty Soda Rennaissance?

The latest celebrity Pepsi promo may not be strictly original, or outrageous. But it will open up the nostalgia floodgates, and give a lot of folks a lot of Holiday season warm fuzzies… Is it a Dirty Soda renaissance?

Pilk - © 2022 Pepsico

Okay. You got me. I am the person who is always complaining about idle-minded, addle-brained attempts at creating all manner of stupid food and beverage mash-ups just to generate online hype for individual influencers or mega brands or anybody between. The often-ridiculous recipes or challenges generally don’t inspire too many fans to actually try them.

They’re stunts that burned-out, creatively-bankrupt whackos set up to make momentary splashes on the online scene ‘just because they can’. The result is sometimes a spirited ‘yippie-kay-ay’ from fellow whacks. More often than not, it’s a day or two of prurient interest from extreme online types who get off on that stuff.

Rare exceptions

But occasionally, something offbeat shows up on the web that strikes a righteous note, with a wide range of folks of all ages from all walks of life. It’s like the once-in-a-rare-while emergence of something that’s destined to become a true trend  – not just a fad. In the world of popular music, such songs become known as ‘standards’. All the major performers cover them, sometimes over and over again, on theme-based and seasonal albums, and during live show.

Such is a ‘new’, low-key promo from Pepsi. Older ‘kids’ from the days of soda shops with juke boxes, ankle sox and poodle skirts, and chinos can relate to the flashback treat as easily as ‘today’ teens and 2o-somethings to whom it’s completely new.

When ‘Dirty’ might have meant naughty…

The new Pepsi ‘serving suggestion’ is based on a tradition from the just-post-WW II period, when the teens of the day hung out in soda shops they way they do at Fast Food joints today.

Fizzy fountain-based flavour mash-ups were fairly cheap. Ice cream-based tall-glass creations were more expensive and usually indicated something out of the ordinary going on:

Teen Girl #1: “Eddie and Joanne are going steady.”

Girl #2: “Oh, yah?”

Girl #1: : “He bought her a Strawberry Shortcake Float at Strothers’ yesterday after school…”

A three-scoop Banana Split was the next thing to a marriage proposal.

Dirty Soda

T’was in such enchanted times that the term ‘Dirty Soda’ first surfaced, to indicate a blend of ingredients that  included at least one cola, or a shot of Chocolate Syrup –  the stuff that made it ‘dirty’. Chocolate sprinkles or a dusting of Chocolate Cookie crumbs made it official.

Now Pepsi is sending Lindsey Lohan all over creation in an a shorty-short Santa costume popularizing a new Dirty Soda for the 2022-23 Holidays based on Pepsi and milk. “Pepsi and milk… Pilk!” she explains, to any camera or microphone within range. “That is one dirty soda!”

MAke it your own!

I can remember kids making all sorts of ‘custom’ orders at the Soda Fountain in years gone by… Adding different flavours of Ice Cream, fruit, sprinkles, whatever, making a Soda their own. Why not?

Same goes today. And who knows? You and yours might just be creating a new family tradition when you bring back Dirty Sodas for another turn on the Fast Food merry-go-round. Bring the generations together – if only temporarily – over a genuinely fun, harmless (while admittedly a little sinful and self-indulgent) ritual everyone can appreciate. And remember…

Good clean fun

The nicest thing about something like a Dirty Soda is – no matter what its called or what it looks like – it is, at heart, just good clean fun.

~ Maggie J.