Mike Lamberte went to bed Sunday night in 2015, but woke up Monday morning in the ‘90s.
The 27-year-old from Selah, Wash. was crowned SURGE’s biggest fan last month after winning a social media contest sponsored by the recently resurrected citrus soft drink. His prize? To fly to Los Angeles with a guest for a surprise-filled revival of everything that made '90s culture great – including, of course, SURGE.
Lamberte and his girlfriend, Jenna Sutton, were joined in L.A. by the three guys behind The SURGE Movement – a community of nearly 300,000 (and counting) Facebook fans who successfully lobbied The Coca-Cola Company to bring back their beloved beverage after years of being off the market – and unannounced celebrity guest Pauly Shore.
“They knew they were going to L.A., and that they’d be meeting a surprise guest – but that’s about it,” said Ashley Summers, associate brand manager. “They understood the day was about going with the flow, and they were totally game.”
The day started early when Lamberte, sporting a custom SURGE necklace he made himself, and Sutton were blindfolded and escorted into a tricked-out SURGE van blasting ‘90s tunes and loaded with a boombox-shaped inflatable cooler filled with SURGE. The SURGE Movement guys piled in to join them for the ride.
Their first stop: a Venice Beach thrift shop to pick out ‘90s outfits for the day. As the winners browsed the racks for threads, Shore emerged. SURGE streamed the scene live via Periscope.
“Hey buuuudy!” Shore said, delivering the trademark line of his surfer-dude persona, The Weasel, while donning a dark, curly wig matching his ‘90s look. Fist-pumps and high-fives ensued.
Shore, whose stardom peaked during the SURGE heyday as a standup comic, MTV personality and film actor, took his new friends to the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica for a SURGE sampling event. He conducted spontaneous man-on-the-street interviews with passers-by and handing out cans of SURGE. Nearby, a dance choreographer taught the crowd signature moves from the ‘90s. The entire crew wrapped up the experience that night with an L.A. Clippers game.
“Surrounded by SURGE, hanging with The Weasel, talking in ‘90s slang… it was definitely a blast from the past,” Lamberte said of the experience. “And one I wish I could relive all over again.”
SURGE Comeback: The Story So Far
The Coca-Cola Company launched SURGE in 1996. Despite amassing a cult-like following among its young male-dominated fanbase, who loved its bright green color, bold citrus taste and quirky sense of humor, SURGE was discontinued in 2003.
Last September, Coca-Cola responded to the passionate and persistent efforts of The SURGE Movement by re-launching SURGE through a unique e-commerce partnership with Amazon.com. Thirsty fans quickly scooped up 12-packs of 16 oz. cans online, and the company had trouble keeping the product in stock.
Following strong demand, SURGE made its official return to retail this fall in select convenience stores and gas stations across the Midwest, Southeast and Great Lakes. A map pointing fans to retailers with SURGE in stock can be found at www.SURGE.com.
Summers said the brand team wanted to celebrate the diehards driving the brand’s comeback. “We continue to listen to the masses,” she said. “And part of that is identifying what this community of primarily 18-to-34-year-old males who came of age during the SURGE era is passionate about.”
At the top of the list is ‘90s pop culture. “The unique story of the brand’s return is rooted in nostalgia,” Summers continued. “So we thought it would be great to bring in a celebrity everyone would associate with that timeframe.”
Shore’s quirkiness and sense of humor made him the ideal fit for both the SURGE brand and the Hollywood celebration.
“Pauly was the perfect personality to help spread the news that SURGE is back,” Summers said.
The brand will continue to surprise and delight passionate fans... so stay tuned.
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