When I was growing up, I remember hearing of two things in passing through mass media, and always thinking that they were fictional products used to avoid copyright/trademark issues(having already asked my parents why there were no brand name products in TV shows/movies). One of those things was Wal-Mart. There wasn't a Wal-Mart for hundreds of miles around me while I was growing up, and it wasn't until I was 17 and Wal-Mart started trying to build inside Toledo city limits that I found out that it was a real, actual store-not just some catch-all generic superstore used for entertainment purposes(like ACME brand everything...).
As hard as it may be to believe for most of you out there that I had never heard of Wal-Mart-consider that I was quite familiar with the Meijer chain of stores, but most of the country has no idea what I'm talking about, unless they're in the midwest.
Anyways, the second brand was Shasta. I had seen and heard about Shasta for years before I finally saw my first can of it. Understand that growing up in Ohio, we didn't need Shasta to step in as the cheap alternative to the major soda cans-our shelves were stocked to the gills with glorious, precious Faygo.
Anyways, what brought Shasta to my market and into my grubby little hands was the Shasta/Nintendo tie-in to go along with the release of Super Mario World. I ended up getting a four pack of 8 oz. cans in Green Apple Yoshi. I really wanted Mario Punch or Princess Cherry, but decided I had already had those sodas and needed to try something new-so I went with green apple and couldn't wait to get home.
Anyways, I remember getting home and cracking open a warm can, and pouring the super-sweet, syrupy goodness into my gaping maw to realize that somehow captured the essence of a jolly rancher in soda form. It was delicious, and a very short lived product, so I was excited when I moved here to Washington state to find Shasta in stores. Of course, my tastes have evolved and I no longer prefer the fake-apple flavor of most mass market sodas, but it was still nice to be taken back to that amazing summer of childhood with that one sip of soda.