Elvis Cups and Sopranos Soda

Reese’s Collector Edition Elvis Peanut Butter & Banana Creme Cups

By: Hershey’s

Suggested Retail Price: $1.25

Taste: 4stars


Marketing: 1stars

1. Elvis Presley died at age 42, due in large part to an overindulgent lifestyle.

2. Nothing—other than a bottle of painkillers—symbolizes that lifestyle more than his favorite peanut butter–banana sandwich (pan-fried in bacon fat).

3. Reese’s, therefore, has done something morbid, tacky, and (pointless to deny this) totally delicious with the Elvis tribute Reese’s Peanut Butter—and Banana Creme!—Cup. A thick layer of banana-flavored goo at the bottom of what appears to be a traditional Cup tastes natural and pairs well with the peanut butter and chocolate.

But what’s next? The Thomas Becket Blood of the Martyr Capri Sun Party Punch?

Sopranos Soda

By: Imbibe (Licensed by HBO)

Suggested Retail Price: $19.99 for a 12-pack

Taste: 5stars


Marketing: 1stars

Sopranos Soda, which comes in three faux-alcoholic flavors (Amaretto, Chianti, and Limoncello), could be one of this year’s breakout soft drink lines. Served on the rocks, the gently sweetened Amaretto is a refreshing winner. The Chianti packs a subtle hit of wine-esque flavor that’s a little disconcerting but ultimately entertaining. Limoncello is a dud, as it tastes too much like SweeTarts.

But how about that wacky branding? The tag line is “Old Fashioned Italian Soda.” And the PR copy seems to lean on the following formula: “The Sopranos was about Italian Americans. Italian Americans drink beverages such as amaretto, limoncello, and Chianti. Our sodas have those flavors.” Or try: “The Sopranos was very popular, and by tying our sodas to the show we hope to turn popularity into fat wads of cash.”

But branding sugar water with a gun on its cap? Even on the TV show, guns were not cute. They were tools that removed inconvenient human beings. However, the booze flavors are a nifty way to help young teens make that first precious leap into underage drinking.

James Norton edits the Upper Midwestern food journal Heavy Table. He's also the coauthor of a book on Wisconsin's master cheesemakers. Follow CHOW on Twitter, and become a fan on Facebook.