April 23, 1985 was a Tuesday and I had taken the day off from work (ad agency Young & Rubicam) because I was having a chest of drawers, platform bed and bookcase delivered from The Door Store to my new apartment in the West Village. That morning, as I waited for the delivery truck, I heard on the radio about Coke introducing a new formulation for its flagship brand.
I grew up drinking Pepsi - there was a Pepsi bottling plant in my hometown with a huge illuminated bottle cap on its roof and as a child I thought it was Pepsi's headquarters. However, I was still curious and bought a can of New Coke the next day. I didn't detect much of a difference in the taste. (The idea behind the change was to make it closer in taste to Pepsi). However, the reaction by Coke drinkers was swift and furious. Because of this backlash "Classic" Coke was brought back during the summer.
Despite my longstanding preference for Pepsi I found my affinity weakening as we entered the 21st century. I was a longtime diet soda drinker (ever since reading Sugar Blues in 1982) but rarely drank diet Coke because I thought it tasted more artificial compared to other brands. However, Coke began dabbling in line extensions that piqued my interest.
An array of flavors were introduced, e.g. lime and cherry,that to my taste buds masked the artificial taste, so I found myself drinking diet Coke more frequently. (By the way, whatever happened to Vanilla Coke and Coke Blak?) Then the introduction of Coke Zero a couple of years ago reeled me in further as I found it tasted very similar to regular Coke. While I still occasionally drink diet Pepsi I think Coke Zero is by far the best tasting diet soda on the market.