Mental Floss

Game Show Prep: More Facts About Fresca

Kara Kovalchik
facebooktwitterreddit

We're betting that Ken Basin will never forget what that fourth button was for on LBJ's desk. Who Wants to Be a Millionaire fans know what we're talking about; the rest of you can watch this clip:

Since the interest in this refreshing beverage has now reached fever pitch (or mild sore throat and sniffles pitch, anyway), here are some fun Fresca facts to feed your frenzy.

"¢ The Coca-Cola Company first put Fresca on our grocer's shelves in 1963. It was one of the few diet soft drinks available at that time, along with Tab and Diet Rite. Of course, during that era the word "diet" wasn't considered an effective marketing tool; such sodas were referred to as "sugar-free" or "low calorie" instead. Fresca had a tangy citrus-y, grapefruit-y flavor similar to Squirt, which had been on the market in limited distribution areas since 1938.

"¢ Note the unique design of the original Fresca bottle. That grooved "channel" just under the label was in place to catch the condensation that was sure to drip down the side. Because Fresca was so cool it was cold, man.

"¢ Fresca's advertising "hook" was that it was chillingly refreshing on a hot summer's day. Variations of "Come out of the heat and into the cold" was the theme for much of their advertising in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Here's an example:

"¢ Singer Trini Lopez did hit the top five on Billboard's pop chart once with "If I Had a Hammer," but as far as overall coolness goes, his tunes were more likely to be heard in your dentist's office than in the local discotheques. Nevertheless, Coca-Cola found him sufficiently groovy enough to record "The Blizzard Song," which was given away as a freebie with specially marked cases of Fresca in 1967.

"¢ One reason Fresca was so popular in its day was that it not only had no sugar and only two calories per 10 ounce serving, but it was a dietetic product that didn't taste like a mildewed sweat sock. The secret behind its sugar-free yet sweet flavor was an artificial sweetener called Cyclamate.

no-cyclamate
no-cyclamate /
twitterbanner.jpg
twitterbanner.jpg /
facebooktwitterreddit