Today I’ve been pondering the new Coke ad, you know the one where a bloke puts a coin into a vending machine and we follow the coin into a magical world of wonder, animated fun and sparkles. A cartoon vision of what has to happen to make a bottle of coke the magnificent drink it is. Birds whiz overhead, trains rattle along and all is busy, like a springtime version of Father Christmas’s workshop.
Just over half way through the ad, a small but noteworthy event occurs. In the far distance a squat and insignificant bottle appears containing some unappealing brown liquid. It is held aloft over a gleaming Coca Cola bottle. Empty, the bottle dominates all, like a statuesque glass goddess. The brown liquid is squirted into this magnificent vessel, somehow defiling it. It is then whisked off to undergo further sprinkling with fairy dust and blastings of trumpets, before clunking into the draw of the vending machine.
So that’s barely a second of a thirty second advert on the actual product, the stuff we buy to drink because we are thirsty or tired. The rest of the ad focuses on the bottle, the bit we recycle or throw away.
I wonder if this reflects the thinking at Coke HQ, that the brand and the packaging are far more important than the sugary drink the world loves. It seems that the marketing department, or the creative team they use, have lost sight of something. Even though they know people buy the stuff because of the power of the Coke brand, most people think they buy it because they like the drink.