Coca-Cola’s latest advertisement: It isn’t just the drink that leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
By E.F Nicholson
I came across an ad the other day for Coke on YouTube titled “Coca-Cola Happiness Machine.” As if Coke wasn’t wretched enough as a company, to then see such a saccharine production as this just adds further validity that the drink may rot your teeth, but the company will go to any length to rot your mind.
If you don’t have the stomach to watch it all the way through, basically they installed a Coke vending machine at a college campus and call it a happiness machine. So, guess what equals happiness? You got it: Coke, of course. Someone buys a single bottle, and lo and behold multiple bottles start being dispensed. She starts handing them out, everyone’s laughing and howling away, and right before our eyes we see more Coke means more happiness. Being happy is getting stuff, including sugary black water stuff. The machine then starts giving out pizza, subs, etc., but make no doubt, it was all about the Coke. Upon my watching this, it already had almost 7 million views.
Companies like Coke hire very intelligent and media-savvy agencies to keep expanding and furthering their brands and sales. If you read some of the promotional literature you could be forgiven for thinking their product was the cure for cancer or water from the holy grail.
Coke will leverage the opportunities in the new media landscape and transform one-way storytelling into dynamic storytelling hoping to add value and significance to peoples lives. As the challenge of content creation in an enlightening way, reminding us that every contact point with a customer should tell an emotional story. Coke takes rich ideas like linking to “liquid content,” creating provocations that spur not just dialogue but action, and the importance of influential “data whisperers” to drive awareness and change.
Yeah that’s right, they are talking about water with sugar in it.
For the Coca-Cola company, it isn’t enough to just buy their crappy drinks; rather, they aim to embed themselves into our cultural lexicon, landscape and whole experience. Coke tells a story that is exciting, dynamic, relevant and engaging that it wants you to feel a part of. Seeing as it’s simply just sugar water with bubbles, all this pathos and meaning has to be completely manufactured and people need to be sucked into that story, whether they know it or not. Coke has to make itself into something it isn’t, as just being what it is, water with sugar, doesn’t sell or achieve the brand awareness it’s aiming for. So we get trite and vacuous slogans like “Coke is it.” Wow, there was I thinking maybe “love was it,” or “God was it” or even “it’s maybe it,” but no, Coke has the brazen brass balls to tell you that Coke is actually “it” whilst refraining from telling you what “it” actually is.
In the competitive marketplace these types of mini-story advertisements are getting more common on the hope one of them may go “viral,” gaining them even more free exposure. Hyundai recently did one of these (you can see it here) where a daughter sent a message to her dad who worked in a space station. Instead of, “I love you, Dad,” it should have read, “Please come back and save the planet from its immediate demise thanks to the automotive industry.” Not quite, it seems.
What’s most troublesome about these types of ads is how they are well done. They do effectively press the buttons, draw you in and get your subconscious mind to link Coke with being happy and having a good time, or to believe Hyundai somehow cares about people. Where, in fact, people caring about people, not car companies, but loving relationships, being creative, and being of service, in reality, are the things that make people happy. Coke happily distracts you from that fact, taking that need in all of us to laugh and be happy and pairing it with this liquid garbage.
Ads like these are part of massive global campaigns aimed at infiltrating people’s minds at every opportunity and at every angle possible. Coke has no interest in people’s happiness. Quite the opposite, it needs you to be lacking something, to have discontent that it can then sweep in and plug up with an ice-cold bottle of Coke. I wonder how a cigarette version of this vending machine shtick would be received on L.A.’s skid row where all the homeless sleep. Hundred of fags just keep spewing out. I can’t imagine it be greeted with such hilarity as the homeless desperately fought and grabbed what they could. It would be considered crude, exploitive and humiliating. Yet in principle it’s the same, an over-prized item that’s bad for your health and the planet being cynically pushed by a global conglomerate without any ethics or morals onto its target audience to ensure continued profits. If you already disliked Coca-Cola, you now have just one more reason to do so. For more insight into Cokes dubious way go to www.killercoke.org
UPDATE: I have been taking break from covering some of the more heavy subjects and focusing solely on satire.
I have no doubt I’ll come back to the serious but feel the need to be a bit more playful, silly and of course scathing on those worthy of it.
I am taking shots at inane articles you see on relationship advice, looking at absurdstories in the news, highlighting the opinion of people I would consider morons and just getting stuff off my chest like I do here.
So please check it out and see what you think.