The Coke Product With Roots In Cosmic Horror And Satire

How many of you remember Coke Heartthrob? It was that Coke flavor that came out around Valentine's Day and tasted sweetly of amaretto and rosewater. It came out around the 1980s? If you're a die-hard Coca-Cola fanatic or a veteran collector of Coke merchandise, none of this seems to ring a bell. 

Coca-Cola has had a lot of flavors over the years to be sure. Some were smash-hit successes and have gone on to become wildly popular flavors, such as the release of Cherry Coke in 1985 (per The New York Times). Others, however, fizzed out as quickly as they came. We needn't look any further than the historic failure of New Coke, a product met with such disdain that HISTORY tells us customers flooded the company with complaints and threats, and even held mass demonstrations to demand the return of classic Coke. Suffice it to say, Coca-Cola is an American icon and a symbol of corporate power, American refreshment, and even controversy.

But what is Coke Heartthrob? A quick Internet search provides nothing credible that says such a flavor was ever sold, let alone even existed. Yet some Reddit users claim to have fond memories and memorabilia of this romantically-themed product. 

Coke Heartthrob is, in fact, total fiction. Instead, it's only a small part of a massive online project that combines a satirical look at greed, product placement, and corporate hubris with a horror story about — what else? — a giant underground monster living underneath West Texas.

Coke Heartthrob is the creation of artist Trevor Roberts

Online artist Trevor Roberts is the creator, author, and illustrator of the Mystery Flesh Pit National Park project. Designed like an online museum, the project details the history of a national park built around and inside of a gigantic subterranean monster discovered by Texas oilmen in the 1970s. While the living park "closed down" in 2007 following a horrific disaster, Roberts plays curator, showing off memorabilia from the Pit's heyday and detailing products made using materials harvested from the innards of the "Permian Basin Superorganism." Coke Heartthrob, one exhibit notes, is made from a highly diluted fluid drained from the creature's glands and sold off as a delicious sugary soda. 

Corporations, such as the fictional Anodyne Corporation or real-life companies AT&T and Coca-Cola, play heavily into this cosmic horror tale. In an interview with World Building, Roberts explained that the use of corporations helps to add to the sense of realism, while also making a point about the callous nature of product placement in historical monuments and tragedies. In this way, Roberts pokes fun at the outrageously intrusive world of marketing, coolly detailing how both government and corporate interests exploited both workers and even the creature itself to turn an incredible and horrific discovery into a cheesy, overpriced amusement park.

While neither the Flesh Pit nor Coke Heartthrob is real, at least you still have classic Coke to drink while you read over this fascinating piece of "American history."