Remember When Coca-Cola Put Cash Inside Cans For Their ‘MagiCan’ Summer Promotion? [Video]
Every Summer, Coca-Cola rolls out a big promotion. The past few years we've seen people's names on cans, song lyrics and more. Back in 1990, Coke introduced their "MagiCan" promotion, and some cans contained as much as $500 in cash and gift certificates. Sounds amazing, right? Unfortunately, things got weird.
The cans that contained the prizes were filled with a water/sulfur mix instead of Coca-Cola. This way you couldn't tell by holding it whether it was a winner or not. The idea was to make it obvious to the consumer that this can didn't have Coke in it due to the strong smell when opened. There was a spring loaded mechanism in the can, isolated from the fart water, that would pop up to reveal cash and prizes when you opened the can. The prize would either be money, from $1 to $500, or coupons redeemable for trips or merchandise. Cocal-Cola reportedly was set to spend $4 million in cash and prizes on this promotion. Things didn't go as planned however.
From wikipedia -
"A number of cans had problems: the pop-up mechanism malfunctioned, jamming, or a faulty seal released some of the chlorinated water mixture into the can itself. A widely reported incident involved an 11-year-old boy in Massachusetts drinking the foul-tasting liquid used to replace actual cola. Despite initial fears, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health determined that the water was not harmful, containing a lower concentration of chlorine than the water in a typical swimming pool. Worried about the bad publicity and potential product liability lawsuits, Coke immediately placed television and newspaper advertisements in 50 large United States markets. The full-page ads, run only once, warned consumers that a "very small number" of cans contain a foul-smelling but harmless water that should not be ingested. The ads were headlined "Take A Good Look" and in smaller type, read "You could have a MagiCan." The print ads pointed out that the MagiCans might be defective, which actually proved a key point in any potential plaintiff's lawsuit under the doctrine of strict liability. Moreover, the problem with the chlorinated mixture was not concern of being drunk by accident, but that it spilled over into the prize. Multiple winners complained about receiving soggy money after activating a MagiCan."
The "MagiCan" promotion was pulled by Coca-Cola after only three weeks due to all of the complaints and negative publicity from the promotion.
At the time of termination, 200,000 of the 750,000 planned promotional cans had been distributed.
To be honest, I love this idea. I don't remember it, I only came across it today and wanted to see if you did. Sometimes things just look better on paper, then when they get into the real world they just don't work. Now that it's 2017 and we have better methods of possibly pulling this off, I'd love to see Coke give this another try!
Below is one of the TV commercials from the "MagiCan" promotion. Were you lucky enough to get one or know someone who did?