Coca-Cola is returning to space, in a new and different way.
The iconic soft drink, which was one of the first carbonated beverages to be taste-tested by astronauts in orbit, is now attempting to bring the taste of space down to Earth (opens in new tab) as a first-of-its-kind, limited edition.
"Coca-Cola Starlight," as revealed on Thursday (Feb. 17), "combines great Coca-Cola taste with a dash of the unexpected, including a reddish hue," the company said in a release. "Its taste includes additional notes reminiscent of stargazing around a campfire, as well as a cooling sensation that evokes the feeling of a cold journey to space."
Set to land on store shelves across the United States beginning on Monday (Feb. 21), with select countries to follow in the coming months, Coca-Cola Starlight highlights the brand's history in space.
"Thirty-five years ago, Coca-Cola partnered with NASA (opens in new tab) to become one of the first soft drinks to travel to space. That same passion for space still exists today," said Oana Vlad, senior director for global brand strategy at The Coca-Cola Company (opens in new tab). "With Coca-Cola Starlight, we wanted to celebrate the remarkable ability of space exploration to inspire generations to discover new worlds of infinite possibilities."
"We set out to bring that concept to life through a simple sip, capturing some of the mystery and essence of what we love about space," said Vlad.
In addition to the drink's space-inspired taste and color, Coca-Cola Starlight is packaged with a design featuring a multi-dimensional, light-filled star field. An "out-of-this-world" augmented reality (AR) "Concert on a Coca-Cola" experience can be accessed by scanning a bottle or can of Starlight, featuring popstar Ava Max.
"Coca-Cola Starlight takes people on a journey in the same way that music has the ability to transport listeners to new worlds with each song," Max said. "It's been exciting to collaborate with Coca-Cola on this project."
"We wanted to create an otherworldly experience through technology," Max said.
Surrounded by virtual red liquid and gradient lighting, Max performs "Kings & Queens," "Sweet But Psycho" and "EveryTime I Cry" as part of an AR-holographic private concert using the can as an "anti-gravity, translucent space station."
The launch of Coca-Cola Starlight will also be hailed through collaborations (opens in new tab) with designers, including the streetwear brand Staple, as well as by new social filters available on Instagram.
Coca-Cola Starlight is the first product to launch under the company's new Coca-Cola Creations platform.
"Coca-Cola Creations aims to surprise, delight and engage global audiences through magical and unexpected tastes, moments and collaborations — something we know our fans have come to expect from us," said Vlad.
Coca-Cola Starlight will be available in individual 20-ounce bottles and 10-packs of 7.5-ounce mini cans both in "Original Taste" and "Zero Sugar" options beginning on Monday in stores across the United States. Later this year, Coca-Cola plans to introduce additional limited-edition Coca-Cola Creations.
"Coca-Cola Starlight [was] created with the vision that in a world of infinite possibilities somewhere in our universe, another kind of Coca-Cola, another way of connecting with each other, might exist," the company said.