Thursday Buzz: Membership Lessons From a Discontinued Soda

The cult of Surge convinced Coca-Cola to bring the soda back, and the reason it did is one that associations can appreciate. Also: Give your donors the gift of short and sweet videos.

Coca-Cola has its own version of the McRib, and it’s in the middle of a comeback tour.

Surge—a sugary soda that’s something of a combination of Mountain Dew and another long-lost drink, Hi-C’s Ecto Cooler—made a comeback this week after a fan campaign brought the long-dormant soda back to a store shelf (specifically, Amazon’s) after more than a decade of absence.

The impressive part of this is that the soda came back because of a group of passionate fans, represented by a 147,000-strong Facebook page called “SURGE Movement,” which purchased billboards in support of the plan. The page’s organizers met with Coke to encourage the company to relaunch the soda, something covered by the video here.

Thus far, the campaign is proving massively successful—Surge is Amazon’s top-selling food product, and the online store has already run out of its supply of the sugary, syrupy, caffeine-heavy beverage. It’s a great example of the long tail in action.

Associations should take heed of this, because there’s a lesson here. Too often, passionate cult followings match up with the things we do for our members, and we don’t leverage them quite the way we should. By listening to its fans, Coke bought goodwill with an audience so excited about its product that fans held a fundraiser involving an expired box of syrup, some club soda, and a dream.

If you’re not taking such obvious cues from your most passionate audience members, you’re doing something wrong.

Throw ‘Em for a Loop

The shortness and sweetness of Vine and Instagram’s video platform has long fascinated social raiders, but you might be wondering how best to leverage it in your own strategy.

Jim Lynch of TechSoup, which is running its Storymakers 2014 campaign, has a few suggestions to draw donor interest with micro-video apps.

“If your organization wants to connect with younger donors and you’re looking for low- or no-cost approaches, these apps are a great place to start,” he explains at Kivi’s Nonprofit Communications Blog.

Above is a particularly smart example of using Vine—a thank-you video to a specific donor. Have any ideas of your own?

Other Links of Note

If you’re upgrading to iOS 8, beware the dialog box pushing you to upgrade to iCloud Drive. And make sure you have enough space on your device.

“If your organization refuses to spend money on Facebook, then you aren’t firing Facebook. Facebook is firing you. And that’s way worse for you than it is for Facebook.” Colleen Dilenschneider has some tough words on Facebook’s demotion of nonprofits.


p>Renewals happen once a year, but Christina Green suggests that retention is about treating members like you’re constantly fighting for them to renew.

Yes, you can call this a resurgence. (Amazon press photo)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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