TaB: the drink of horror


1963: A year of change.  Welcome to a year in my life

May 1 – The Coca-Cola Company debuts its first diet drink, TaB cola.


Coca-Cola’s marketing research department used its IBM 1401 computer to generate a list of over 185,000 four-letter words with one vowel, adding names suggested by the company’s own staff; the list was stripped of any words deemed unpronounceable or too similar to existing trademarks. From a final list of about twenty names, “Tabb” was chosen, influenced by the possible play on words, and shortened to “Tab” during development. Packaging designer Robert Sidney Dickens gave the name the capitalization pattern (“TaB”) used in the logo as well as creating a new bottle design for the soft drink.[6]

Tab products

Tab cola bottle

Tab Energy

Tab Clear


Image result for A picture of a TaB bottle
I actually drank this.  And no it really was not that good.
The IBM 1401 was a variable wordlength decimal computer that was announced by IBM on October 5, 1959. The first member of the highly successful IBM 1400 series, it was aimed at replacing unit record equipment for processing data stored on punched cards and at providing peripheral services for larger computers.
Image resultToday we would use a laptop.  Boy have we changed.

” NEW and improved” versions of old and familiar products appear almost daily and at times buyers barely seem to notice. Soft-drink makers blend saccharin with Nutrasweet, and the taste, at first dramatic and different, soon becomes routine. Products come, products go, products change and customers expect it – unless the product is Tab.

Ever since Nutrasweet, the brand name for the low-calorie sweetener aspartame, was added to Tab in May, the Coca-Cola Company, which manufactures the diet cola, has been hearing from customers. Nearly 5,000 people have called or written, according to Thomas Mattingly, a company spokesman. Many have praised the taste of new Tab. But the vast majority, Mr. Mattingly said, are letters and calls of complaint.

”They say it doesn’t taste like their Tab,” Mr. Mattingly said, noting that it is more common for dissatisfied customers to write than satisfied ones. ”We expected that,” he said. ”There was a loyal group that drank Tab and wore that like a badge.”

”There were Tab drinkers who were fiercely loyal,” said Jesse Meyers, publisher of Beverage Digest, a weekly newsletter for and about the soft-drink industry. ”My daughter, for example, is a confirmed Tab ape. She wants the metallic bite of saccharin. For those drinkers, there is no substitute.”

Please note: Jesse Meyers called is daughter a TaB ape.  Would you call your daughter an ape?


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