We interrupt our regular program to bring you a little something from the past... A few weeks ago, I wrote a heated (but honest) diatribe attacking Coca-Cola’s limited edition product, “The Super Chill.” In some mad-scientist product developer’s mind, it was supposed to be an instantly iced coke slurpee; in reality, we all know that it was a wimpy, stale-tasting version of Coke. This is the story of the series of events that unfolded shortly after: Day 1: I received an email in my inbox from Swire Coca Cola with an apology oozing of sweetness while dangling a delectable offer: an invitation to try out their newest product, set to launch in Hong Kong this month, “hand-delivered, chilled.” Day 2: I had always wondered what it’d feel like to be bought out, so I accepted the offer and schedule for them to come to the HK Mag offices the next day. Day 3: They didn’t show. The PR girl had fallen ill. Fair enough—we rescheduled for another day. Day 4: They showed up...half an hour late. Probably because they were lugging four large suitcases of Glaceau Vitamin Water. Gee, you really didn’t have to do that. But thank you kindly. To be honest, after a four-day effort, it wasn’t the big ta-da I had hoped for. Firstly, because you’d have to really blow the socks off someone when you build things up so much. And secondly, because I’ve had plenty of Vitamin Water in New York, where bottles of the bright fluid were constantly jammed into the drink-holders of athletic tropes way too into their spinning class. Nonetheless in my heart of hearts, I wanted them to do well. The PR girls were obviously hard-working, and I’m sure they had some serious corporate training and orders from the Big Boss to go out there and color the world with Vitamin Water. The Hong Kong-version was a reduced sugar recipe, which I hope wasn’t the product of millions of dollars of market research. This is because we all know the de facto stereotype is that when you’re selling something in Asia, decrease the sugar, decrease the salt. Asians have even convinced themselves it’s the unshakeable truth (I don’t buy it fully—I mean, red bean paste is pretty damn sweet, but no one seems to complain). We did a brief tasting of the six flavors, which we were told correlated to different times of the day. “So, that flavor over there,” said the one-and-only Johannes Pong, pointing at the magenta-colored bottle marked “XXX” (it was flavored with acai berries, which taste most similar to blueberries). “Is that for the night time?” At that point, the whole the time-of-day theory got thrown out the window, and we settled on the fact that they were just cool (somewhat random) names for a variety of moods. Same question then...what exact mood, pray tell, would “XXX” be for? I decided it’d be too immature of me to ask, and resorted to quiet slurping interrupted by awkward chitchat and polite smiles. At some point, they asked to take a photograph of me for “internal purposes.” In a way, I’m pretty glad that’s how it turned out. I didn’t want to end up losing all self-respect, giving into my temptation, and donning a friggin’ Coke Polar Bear outfit while pantomiming my love for the cola (or whatever Vitamin Water-equivalent mascot would be). “Will you be writing about this in your column?” one of the PR girls asked. Wow, am I that predictable? I always give the same answer to this question: “Maybe. But if I do, be forewarned, it’d be written fairly with full disclosure.” So here’s my honest opinion (which doesn’t represent the viewpoints of anyone but me): The “XXX,” “Power-C,” and “Res-Q” varieties were pretty good. No comment on the rest.