Review: “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” Barq’s Root Beer Cans


Mike Burns, Co-Founder of CanMuseum.com, returns with another look at beverage cans

It is June 2, 2003 and Twilight author, Stephenie Meyer, awakens from a profound dream of a story of forbidden love between a teenage girl and a vampire. 13 days earlier, on May 20, 2003, the last episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer aired after 7 seasons. During the series we see Buffy, a teenage girl, involved in a relationship with a vampire.

Barq's Root Beer - Buffy Cans

Jump back to October 1999 in the United States, during the 4th season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and we have The WB, Fox Licensing & Publishing, and Barq’s Root Beer teaming up for their “Barq’s and Buffy Halloween Bash”. [Barq's was acquired by The Coca-Cola Company in 1995]. This promotion, using Barq’s vampire-like tagline, “Barq’s has bite” targeted the 18–37 demographic with a chance to win Barq’s product, Buffy clothing and merchandise or the grand prize, getting to attend a Halloween party with members on the Buffy cast. Game pieces were the names of Buffy characters printed under bottle caps. You had to watch the October 12 episode of Buffy to find out the character’s name that matched the winning bottle caps. If you had a bottle cap with the name, “Riley Finn”, you won a trip to Hollywood to attend the party, view a private screening of the October 26 Halloween-themed episode and receive many other Buffy-related gifts at the party.

In addition to the bottles, four limited-edition 12-ounce cans were released with members of the “Scooby Gang” a.k.a. Buffy’s closest friends who team up each episode to defeat the “Big Bad” creature, demon, vampire, etc. All of the cans are exactly the same except for the color printing of the Buffy character(s) on the can (one can has two characters). Each can maintains the Barq’s silver background and the normal Barq’s branding on one side of the can. Across the top is a black band that says, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer COLLECTIBLE SERIES” in white text. The other side has the Buffy character(s) in front of a red design that looks like something that would be associated with the martial arts. Surrounding the character(s) are three logos: Barq’s Famous Olde Tyme Root Beer, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and The WB New Tuesday. Just under the black band at the top, above the characters’ left shoulders are the words, “THIS IS NOT A GAME PIECE. SEE SIDE PANEL FOR DETAILS”. There is not much else to say about the designs of the cans other than who is featured on them.

Buffy Can

Barq's Root Beer - Buffy

The first can features Buffy the Vampire Slayer herself, also known as Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar). Ironically, Sarah Michelle Geller was a part of the real “Scooby Gang” when she played the role of Daphne in the first two live-action Scooby-Doo movies (2002 & 2004).

Giles Can

Barq's Root Beer - Giles

The second can shows Rupert Giles (Anthony Stewart Head), high-school librarian by day, father figure to Buffy and advisor to her friends at night.

Xander Can

Barq's Root Beer - Xander

On the third can we see Xander Harris (Nicholas Brendon), the comic relief of the series and geeky character based on the high school days of creator, Joss Whedon.

Willow & Oz Can

Barq's Root Beer - Willow & Oz

The fourth can is a little different than the others as it features two characters who during that season were in a relationship. Willow Rosenberg (Alyson Hannigan), a nerdy, upbeat girl who dabbles in magic is alongside her romantic interest, Oz (Seth Green), who is also a werewolf and lead guitarist for the band Dingoes Ate My Baby.

Overall, this is a set that focuses more on the characters of the Buffy show and a contest than great artwork and design. Fans of the show and fans of any of the individual actors would be especially interested in these cans. I know a little bit about this television series as I ended up watching the entire series, for better or worse, so these cans stand out to me. However, if they were say, The Spice Girls can set or The Backstreet Boys can set, I wouldn’t care too much about them other than to have them for my collection.

Oh yeah, just for fun, here’s a can from that other teenage vampire story…

Twilight: New Moon Can

Pepsi - Twilight

This limited edition Pepsi can was marketed in Italy in 2009 to promote the film, Twilight: New Moon. On the can are Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) – a vampire, Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner) – a werewolf, and Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) – a teenage girl. On this can we have a full color picture (like the Buffy cans) of all three main characters as they are in the movie poster. I suppose for Twilight fans (of which I am not), this is an awesome can.