For the past few months we’ve had the privilege of drinking Pepsi Throwback Soda. Yes, soda. While the fad is in its downslide by now, it’s an interesting snapshot of our culture. The Pop Culture of the 2000s in some way is difficult to pin down because it relies so heavily on the Throwback. Let’s examine:
Now is an interesting time period as the Throwback Pepsi becomes more and more rare. Basically, the idea behind the marketing campaign was that the soda was made with Real Sugar, not artificial sweets and packaged in a can resembling the product as it looked in the 1970s. The product was only available from December 28th, 2009 to February 22nd, 2010. It’s a pretty small window, but in certain shops that have not sold out, the soda may be found again. And it’s pretty darn good.
The reasoning and popularity behind the move is interesting. Our current culture seems to have an obsession with our own past culture. Besides Throwback Soda, we have Throwback Uniforms (some better than others) as well as wholly anachronistic films and television that often rely on tongue-in-cheek commentary on the silliness of our past for jokes and entertainment.
We can take this a step further. Often 21st Century culture has less and less real element of its own, rather instead is just made up of nostalgia for every other decade’s culture. Especially apparent in Hollywood are more and more reboots and retoolings of classic movies rather than new innovation. This spills over to involve the reclamation of past icons into modern superstars. We would rather re-examine our past than make new special moments of our own. This extends to needless sequels, exploiting established demographics and the reliance on comic book adaptations over original action films.
There are a few reasons for all this and the first, ironically enough, is our technology. We live in an age unlike any other in terms of the information available to the average consumer via online media. It offers a much wider exposure to elements of all prior cultures, tv shows and movies from any generation. It allows us to have a larger scope of viewership. It is possible to isolate oneself with Led Zeppelin music and M*A*S*H* episodes, living ones life as if in the 1970s (again, ironically enough) via the internet. The rapid dissemination of new media has no rival in our cultural history, which gives us the ability to actually live in any period of time.
Of course the one major flaw in this dream (besides the ignorance of temporal political and sport events that have an indelible affect on pop culture) is the consumption of non-media elements such as clothing, food and shelter. While internet and eBay shopping can easily dissolve the clothing problem, food is more difficult (unless you want to order eBay soda every week for some reason) until now. Hence the importance of Pepsi Throwback on our culture for those couple months. They’re still out there in some isolated corner stores, keep searching and keep the dream alive!