Coke once tried hidden “MagiCans” that had spring-loaded prizes instead of soda. They failed when technical glitches led consumers to accidentally drink the chlorinated water used to make them feel real
“MagiCans were special, mechanical cans used by Coca-Cola as a part of their $100-million “”Magic Summer ’90″” promotion. The MagiCan promotion began on May 7, 1990 and ended on May 31.
In this promotion, some Coca-Cola cans had cash prizes or gift certificates inside instead of Coca-Cola. The prizes were spring-loaded to pop out once the can was opened, lifting the prize into the opening. The prize would either be rolled piece of currency, from $1 to $500, or coupons redeemable for trips or merchandise. The total give away of cash and prize coupons totaled $4 million. The original plan was to randomly distribute about 750,000 MagiCans among the 200 million cans of Coca-Cola Classic in circulation at any one time. To make the cans feel and weigh normally, and prevent people from easily finding the prize cans, a sealed area within the cans is filled with a mixture of chlorinated water and foul-smelling ammonium sulfate to discourage drinking. Though initially a great success, leading to a rise in sales, technical difficulties led to the promotion’s early termination.
Coca-Cola first announced the “”Magic Summer ’90″” campaign in March 1990 by sending MagiCans containing currency to journalists. Some journalists wrote that it was questionable for a big corporation to mail cash to reporters.
The campaign continued without the MagiCans, giving away tickets to the sponsored New Kids on The Block’s Magic Summer Tour and distributing “”MagiCups””, which were paper cups with peel-off prizes on the exterior used for fountain drinks at fast-food chains and other fountain outlets”