Here is an edited excerpt of an editorial from the San Francisco Chronicle, which was published Thursday.
SOFT DRINK enthusiasts are reeling at news that Coca-Cola Co. is developing technology designed to automatically boost prices in Coke machines on hot days when demand is up.
Such a cynical ploy to exploit the thirst of faithful customers is shameful and should be rejected immediately.
When word of the scheme got out last week, Coca-Cola flacks denied plans to put such a machine in the marketplace "anytime soon." But the company's chief executive, M. Douglas Ivester, tipped his hand last month when he told a Brazilian magazine that because the demand for a cold Coke increases on hot days, "it is fair that it should be more expensive."
Not since 1985, when Coca-Cola changed its venerable formula and created "New Coke" in one of the biggest blunders in U.S. marketing history has a bad idea deserved to be euthanized this quickly. New Coke failed because people didn't like it any more than they will like computerized vending machines jacking up prices when they are thirstiest.
Coca-Cola should remember that archrival Pepsi is out there, and you can hardly tell the difference.