Coca Cola’s diet coke ads suck

Personally, I prefer Pepsi for a better “taste” if I need to choose between Coca Cola and Pepsi to drink. However, let’s put that aside. Here I want to talk about the latest Coca Cola’s diet coke ads. I’m always a fan of Coca Cola creative ads. Some of their clever campaigns (this one and this one) even drove me to tears from its subtle emotion conveyances. But this time it made me cry from horribleness. More considerately speaking, the ad is PLAIN BORING, CONFUSED and EMOTIONLESS.

First, let’s take a look at the video campaign:

(actually it has another British version, which is even funnier, with just one time sipping the coke)

Slogan: Because I can


What they mean: Life is short, have a diet coke

What we get after watching the ad: Life is short, and I’ve wasted 30s in my life watching a pointless ad.

The ad tried to tell us that we are free to do whatever we can, by just literally saying “just do you”, supported by filming a celebrity drinking diet coke twice.

So even the savvy marketing and branding player like Coca Cola produces suck-ass ads too – a sad fact I’ve realized after playing this ad.

What’s wrong?

First of all, the video and the short talk are completely boring. It was meant to pump up motivation, but the way the celebrity (too lazy to find out her name) picked a diet coke, opened it, took a sip – PAUSED – “it’s delicious” – she said with a totally unimpressed face, then walked out, continued her “powerful message”, then took another sip…all was emotionless and very random. It got me confused. I expected something else yet they couldn’t deliver it. Coca Cola this time didn’t even convey their message properly.

“What’s the point in putting all those scenes (of picking a diet coke then drinking it twice) and those cliche lines in this ad?”

Firstly, the ad production is poor. Our celebrity opens the fridge and picks a diet coke, but it seems to be empty. You know, this is just an ad. Maybe the celeb herself couldn’t drink that Coke Diet (ironic) so they used an empty can to film the ad. Looking at how she opened the can, you could see the can was probably already opened too.  The acting when sipping that coke diet is mediocre as well. Drink. Pause. “It’s delicious. It makes me feel good”. And CUTTTTT. Next scene. The scene ends with a cliffhanger but it is a half-ass cliffhanger.

The next scene she starts to explain how to be ourselves and do what we want, linking with “if you’re in the mood for a diet coke, have a diet coke”. What kind of message is that? It’s just your choice, Miss. Not mine, not us. I never drink diet coke or coca cola if I have another choice. So sorry, your message is meaningless to me.

This ad is an example of “purely marketing ad”

“It’s delicious” – anyone drinking Coca Cola can say that, but not you – Coca Cola. “Buy my product, I’m the best”. Do you think I’m gonna believe that? At least you must give me a good reason for that! Here’s how they explained: “It made me feel good”. This is the laziest reason you can come up with. For people who like Pepsi (or any other drink) more than Coca Cola like me, this ad just fails from this very line.

In the latter scene, the message focuses on “do what you want to do”. Seems nice at first, but then it suddenly chokes you out – “if you’re in the mood for a diet coke, have a diet coke”. Those lines poorly connect with the previous statement. What is the correlation between “do what you like” with “have a diet coke”? The ad ends with a “thesis” statement – “IF”, which is weak and down-mood. Plus, there’s no brand character in those flattery lines. You can edit that video and replace the diet coke in her hand with any other drink, the ad is still the same. Literally the script for diet coke here can be used for any other beverage brand. I don’t see any “Coca Cola traits” here.

Repeat, your message is meaningless putting in those lines and scenes, Coca Cola. EVEN A FOOL CAN SEE CLEARLY YOU JUST CARE ABOUT SELLING YOUR OWN DAMN DIET COKE, you don’t care about our freedom of choice. Don’t act so high with that poor propaganda. This is the second suck-ass thing in this ad. A fail of bringing up the marketing message and delivering it to the audience.

Let’s end the discussion by quoting a comment on Youtube about this ad:

“One of those commercials that makes you immediately change the channel” 

Lessons learned via this ad

  • A good marketing message needs to go with a good visual concept and a good story. The idea of “Life if short, have a diet coke” or “Because I can” propaganda is good and can be powerful if they match it well with a better video concept as well as a better story.
  • Never pain an overly positive image in your marketing – keep the balance. If not, your content/message easily becomes a purely marketing piece, which sounds flashy, and unfriendly.
  • Any marketing statement should be well supported or it will be masturbating to your own statements
  • Coherence is the key, pay attention to that too

A digital marketer, blogger, freelancer, astrology fan, mommy of a lovely elephant and helpless Japan-lover. Or just call me Vivian. Hope you have a good time up above the cloud with me.

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