It's good to have friends.
Sometimes you need friends to set you straight. I was reminded of this yesterday when my friend Nina responded to my blog post about the tiny soda cans by informing me that they were not new, in fact they'd probably been around for about ten years.
Well, phooey. Now all of that astute observation and brilliant analysis was reduced to, "Hey! Look what I saw at the store!"
Not very impressive.
And then I laughed. Because sometimes, despite your best efforts, you're wrong. And it's of course a good deal more likely if you come away from your efforts thinking you have executed a particularly clever bit of work. That's when you are more susceptible to believing your own publicity, and less likely to give your work that extra bit of scrutiny it deserves.
What would be worse: being corrected by a friend, or persisting in ignorance? It depends whether your ego is more invested in the quality and truth of your work, or in your personal sense of being "right".
So here's the deal. Nina is right. Now that she mentions it, I have seen short, squat cans of Coke products before--but never these skinny, juice-can versions. (Both 8 ounces.) And I've never seen them for sale at Walgreen's or the Food Lion. But, based on this additional information, I can't make the claim that this is some new marketing plan on the part of soda companies. It just doesn't hold up.
Now, I stand by my assertion that putting cute holiday characters on the cans of soda and placing them right at the checkout is some mighty serious marketing directly to kids. And I absolutely have not seen that before. But why not, right? We have cute characters on cereal, "fruit" snacks, boxed mac and cheese, frozen dinners, "juice" boxes...
But, until recently, soda has enjoyed a different, more powerful status. To many people, buying soda, drinking soda, and keeping soda in the house was just a given. There's plenty of competition between brands, to be sure. I've just never seen such an obvious attempt aimed specifically at younger children. It does make me wonder what it all means.
So I'm a little embarrassed that I was wrong. But I'm also grateful for friends who set me straight.