Lemon, lime, and longing?

As I read about Coca-Cola’s hundreds of soft drink brands I’m terribly amused by their little write-ups.  Some drinks are anthropomorphized, while others have been pre-ordained as the ideal gruel for test tube babies born from the same batch.  Creepiest of all is their attempts to impose a Pavlovian response, with all the grace of a plastic Coke bottle doorstop, entwining your precious memories with their sugar water.

Accompanied by their ads it’s clear to see how marketers use these product bios as a primer.


This thirst-quenching beverage features a fresh, light lemon-lime taste and fun-loving attitude. It’s a home-grown, national treasure in India, where it was acquired by The Coca-Cola Company in 1993. Limca continues to build a loyal following among young adults who love the lighthearted way it complements the best moments of their lives.
Available in the following flavor: Lemon Lime.
Available in the following locations: India, Nigeria, United Arab Emirates and Zambia.

Oh Limca, when I succumb to your carefree effervescence I feel like a shampoo model cavorting in a lemonade waterfall on a baking soda shore!



sunfill Sunfill:
In some locations, Sunfill is 100% orange juice. In other locations, it’s a juice drink that combines great fruit taste and fun for kids, with the nutritious vitamins and minerals parents feel good about serving.
Available in the following flavors: Apple, Blackcurrant, Blackcurrant Grenadine Raspberry, Coconut Pineapple, Kiwi Mango, Mango, Orange, Passionfruit, Pineapple and Strawberry.
Available in the following locations: Djibouti, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Kenya, Macau (Macao), Mauritius, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Tanzania and United States.

I love Sunfill when I’m in the mood for 100% juice, or something with great fruit taste, but not both.




Pibb Xtra:
In 2001, Pibb Xtra was introduced as a bolder version of the original Mr. Pibb taste. Its bold taste and graphics appeal to young adults who are looking to get the most out of life and the most out of their soft drink. It appeals to teens who are just gaining independence from home and looking for things to call their own. The soft drink enables them to have an uninhibited, fun and unconventional attitude and touts the sweet, refreshing bold taste they need to express their independence.
Available in the following flavor: Cherry Spice.
Available in the following locations: Mariana Islands and United States.

It’s boldly made with Xtra syrup to give aspiring teens that “cookies for dinner when I move out” epiphany they crave.



htmgHtml070 Oasis:
Oasis is a range of refreshing noncarbonated fruit juice drinks with a light-hearted, grown-up attitude. It’s for working twenty-somethings who know what they want out of life.
Available in the following flavors: Apple Blackcurrant, Berry, Blackcurrant, Blueberry Pomegranate, Orange Tangerine and Passionfruit.
Available in the following locations: Great Britain, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland.

The drink for the fledgling professional whose borderline racist TV commercials can surely be shrugged off as innocent naiveté.

htmgHtml395 VIVA!:
VIVA! is a natural mineral water brand for young adults who live healthy and active lifestyles.
Available in the following flavor: Unflavored.
Available in the following location: Philippines.

For vivacious Generation Y-ers who want something flavourless and will scream its name to get it.




These pretzels are making me thirsty


Click, choose, or select?

I studied Technical Writing in college where I was taught how to maintain cohesiveness and uniformity across broad collections of instructional documents. The recommended way of keeping track of terminology is to obey a style guide – a list of terms and jargon accompanied by instructions on how and how not to use it.

For all things grammatical there is little flexibility, and so it is best to follow the examples set in industry-standard style guides like the Chicago Manual of Style (for American English) or the Oxford Manual of Style (for Canadian English).

Industry-specific jargon is more recent and is used less frequently, making it unclear as to which terminology is appropriate in specific contexts. There are a few ways you can go in such an instance. You can decide ad-hoc what phrasing to use, but this runs the risk of being inconsistent compared to other documents written by yourself or your colleagues, and instructions become unclear when you set reader expectations one way and then abandon that standard. You can develop an in-house style guide which is obeyed by all writers in the organization, and this is often an acceptable choice that should work well for readers, but you still run the risk of choosing different terminology than the rest of the industry. If you’re lucky there exists an industry-specific style guide which is mutually agreed upon by the majority of similar companies as the de-facto standard.

For many years Microsoft made available its own style guide, called the “Microsoft Manual of Style” (aka MMS), freely on its web site. This guide was invaluable to technical writers by answering the age-old questions such as “click, click on, choose, select, or tick”, and “log in, log on, login, or logon”, citing usage examples for each term and substantiating its rules with cross-referenced examples and alternative contexts. Microsoft’s guide was by no means adopted by even one tenth the PC industry, but it remains the broadest and most respectable style guide. It’s a great tool to improve the ease and readability of instructional documentation for using software.

For unknown reasons Microsoft opted to remove the MMS from its website, never to return. There used to be an official print version of the book but since its cancellation it is available only at exorbitant prices. Luckily I emailed myself a copy of the MMS while it was still available so I’m happy to share it with you here!

Choose here (just kidding) to download the Microsoft Manual of Style.

(just kidding)