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Freeze Frame
Sega, Cherry Coke, and the Terrifying Van
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on March 28, 2012   |   Episode 86 (Show Archive)  

   

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I always knew there was something creepy about Cherry Coke. While New Coke, C2, Diet Coke and Coca-Cola Blak all targeted upstanding consumers, I have long felt that Cherry Coke is a little different. It's a little ... fruitier. Nothing good ever comes from opening a can of Cherry Coke, a motto I have lived by for the last three decades. But what is it about this 27 year old soft drink that gives me the heebie-jeebies?

While thumbing through an old issue of Sega Visions, I discovered a disturbing advertisement that perfectly illustrated the sheer creepiness of Cherry Coke. This commercial introduces the world to the Cherry Coke/Sega Sonic Shuttle, a mobile van full of soda, video games and the perverted lips of a man in shorts that

His name is probably not Jason!
just wants to sing to you. You better get the kids out of the room for this story, because this innocent tale about Cherry Coke is about to take a hard right turn.

Meet Jason, a youthful Coca-Cola employee who has been tasked with visiting some of this nation's biggest cities. He's headed to Chicago, Phoenix, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Dallas, New York and Atlanta. Along the way he hopes to lure your sons and daughters to his van with the promise of free video games and Cherry Coke. All he wants is for you to "Get Cherryfied," but I'm here to tell you that you need to start being TERRIFIED!


Step One: Jason pulls over to the side of the road and sticks his nose in the air. After taking a big sniff, this Coca-Cola salesman knows there are children nearby. He opens up a large trailer of Sega Genesis machines, each playing Sonic the Hedgehog. It doesn't take long for the children to come running. He plies them with free soda and beach towels that advertise his dangerous product. He snickers because he knows these five kids have just fallen into his trap.


Step Two: While the kids play the new Sonic the Hedgehog game, Jason spends his time preparing his bright and colorful (though no less creepy) van for what is about to happen. He puts down fresh towels, strips to his tightest shorts and makes sure the locks work properly. Then he sets up a giant karaoke booth where he serenades his prey with renditions of "Sonic Boom" and other Spenser Nilsen classics. He doesn't care if the kids are too wrapped up in Sega's 16-bit console, sometimes Jason just likes to sing.


Step Three: Jason eventually lures the kids over to his drink station, where the small group decides to have even more Cherry Coke. Jason hopes that the kids don't notice the unopened bottles in the ice chest. He pulls out a few plastic cups and starts pouring his special mixture. He then asks if any of these children have any friends who would like to party. After that he makes a toast to diabetes and a few more things. I wish I could remember what happened after that, but it's all a blur.

All I know is that there's something inherently creepy about a man singing karaoke to five young kids. Oh sure, he may have Cherry Coke instead of candy, but this advertisement is the perfect teaching tool to keep your child safe from predators. Don't let this happen to you! Next time you see a man pull over and offer you Cherry Coke, run away as fast as possible. Preferably fast like Sonic the Hedgehog. Huh ... maybe it's a good advertisement after all.
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