Resurgence: The Surge Renaissance and the World of Mobile

:: Jason Edelman, Fueled ::

Surge, the green caffeine elixir of our youth is making a comeback. Initially created to rival Pepsi's Mountain Dew, Surge only survived for a few years before it was retired as a result of disappointing sales. Now, the power of the internet has resurrected this short-lived, but much adored soda.

The Surge Movement, a Facebook page with almost 156,000 fans, has been calling for revival of the beverage since 2011. The group managed to raise enough money to buy a billboard ad, and in September Coke re-released Surge. It was made available exclusively through Amazon and sold at almost $70 per pack of 12. Surge sold out in less than a week, and the current round of product available on Amazon is nearly gone. Suffice to say, Surge is a success (for the moment). Although it could share the fate it had previously, of high initial sales followed by failure, right now it is riding high. If this continues, it's a big win for customers/fans and Coca-Cola, emphasizing the importance of tracking the social world for product directions and marketing strategies.

Surge is not the first product to be given new life after social campaigns, and will not be the last. Social media and mobile applications have created a platform for companies to interact with their customers in a way never before possible, and customers can interact right back, making demands and directly influencing their own consumer experience.

In August, Burger King revived their Chicken Fries, an item missing from their menu since 2012. The reason for the return of Chicken Fries is social media, such as Twitter and Buzzfeed. Both of these platforms, along with, were used by fans to protest the removal of the fried snack. Burger King indulged its fans, bringing back the Chicken Fry, and turning around to use social media itself as the primary channel for its marketing push.

Mars, the producers of M&Ms, in the wake of Surge have announced that they are bringing back early-2000s favorite and Buzzfeed darling, M&Ms Crispy (usually called Crispy M&Ms). Mars made the announcement during the first week of October (following the success of Surge) and broke the news on Buzzfeed. Seth Klugherz, the man in charge at M&Ms, noted that fan mentions from Facebook and other social media platforms influenced the decision to bring back the chocolate candies.

The world of mobile is likely an unsung hero in this battle to resurrect childhood favorites. Facebook reported in 2013 that at least 78% of its users are mobile (meaning they can access the site from their smartphones/tablets), and you can bet that number has only grown. This means, that those social campaigns were likely driven by users on mobile platforms. If companies are getting results and feedback from social, than without a doubt, they will need to compete in the world of mobile to keep up and stay ahead of their competition.

Surge may not be the first result of its kind, but it is certainly indicative of a trend in which marketers, as well as those in the Social Media and Mobile space need to be engaged. The internet has been proven to be a powerful tool, and it will only get stronger with the growing ubiquity of tech. Getting ahead, experimenting, and learning what customers want, is not only recommended, it is necessary.