AdTurds Bad Adverts – Badverts

31Mar/1319

Diet Coke Advert Frotters Finger Their Ringpulls

I've no great issue with Diet Coke adverts, which have made a virtue of women damply watching male hardbodies carry out some hard, sweaty labour with their shirts off.

The arousal of these women is clearly conveyed using a number of none-too-subtle visual metaphors, which see wet lips parted and ring pulls fingered - and only just about stop short of seeing nipples hardening under blouses and hands heading downstairs for a surreptitious fiddle. The coda to all of these ads is quite obviously the gaggle of ladies running to the closest toilets for a furious bout of lavatorial frotting.

diet coke gardener advert

Frothing at the gash

All of this is undercut here by a bit of Etta James, the kind of rumpy-pump music that indicates that these women are Liberated and In Touch With Their Sexuality, but also that the ad is A Bit Of Fun. Which, arguably, it is. I don't really care much about them; for obvious reasons, as a straight man, I have very little interest in any Diet Coke advert.

Just imagine a load of blokes leering over a woman who's going about her daily routine, though. And then they roll a can of soft drink towards her in the full knowledge that she'll sprayed with its contents in a manner not wholly unlike a cumshot. Look! It did! Hahahahaha! She's humiliated! And wet! Dumb slut!

diet coke advert

Yeah! Dumb slut!

Wait, no she's not! She's going to take off her t-shirt! Fuck! YOU CAN SEE HER TITS AND EVERYTHING! The men gulp down their carbonated vegetable extract in sexual hunger, their eyes telling terrible stories about their intentions. She's asking for it, the dirty little whore! Look at her pouting and posing - she's loving it!

There's something deeply ambiguous about the power dynamic here: the narrative of the ad suggests that the man turns the tables on the group of women, but the girls' delight at the their plan working and the glances of sexual desire from them make this rather troubling.

diet coke advert

Primitive atavistic instincts

Do they intend for the gardener to become soaked in coke when he opens the can? In which case do they intend for him to remove his clothes? Or, as seems to be suggested, are they just happy that he coated in gooey gak? Either way it's not especially benign.

The obvious response to all this is that there's plenty of objectification of women in the media and, indeed, there is. But not so much in advertising. Generally the only sexism you'll see portrayed in adverts these days is directed at men, who are frequently portrayed as stupid, ugly and emasculated. While women got a bad rap in advertising - absurdly so - until the 90s, this is a trend that has all but died out.

diet coke advert

Uncompromising sexual hunger

No doubt this ad is being forwarded to email addresses all over the country and gawped at by ladies enjoying the sort of washboard not seen since The Waltons was last on television. Fair enough, but transpose the genders of all involved and it's slightly grubby and a bit sad.

Meanwhile I'm left to ponder why the protagonists in cola adverts are all boorish twats - lest I mention the Pepsi Max dicks. The Diet Coke witches seem fairly interested in dicks, perhaps they're made for each other.

  • Stu

    I hate the sexist double standards associated with the diet coke ads and it’s getting boring and tedious. Reverse the sexes and there would be uproar. Diet coke does a great job of polarising the sexes. It also makes me want to look at pictures of naked ladies to balance up the score card. I wonder how many other male folk think the same? It’s about time this ridiculous campaign got shelved and replaced with something less predictable and cliche.

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  • Paul LJ Catlow

    do the advertisers read this forum? it’s interesting the advert has shown on tV has now been seriously truncated – the women are seen going “phwooar!” and the can of coke is seen rolling down the hill, but the bloke and the lawnmower are no longer there – the presence of something that makes women go “phwooar!” is implied, though, so either it’s a bloke
    or a gynormous box of chocolate. Was it edited because of the safety aspect, as someone so rightly points out here – that rolling a can of liquid under pressure underneath the rotating scythes of a lawnmower (that may be electrically powered?) is not a bright thing to do and should not be imitated… Darwin Awards are possible…

  • do the advertisers read this forum? it’s interesting the advert has shown on tV has now been seriously truncated – the women are seen going “phwooar!” and the can of coke is seen rolling down the hill, but the bloke and the lawnmower are no longer there – the presence of something that makes women go “phwooar!” is implied, though, so either it’s a bloke
    or a gynormous box of chocolate. Was it edited because of the safety aspect, as someone so rightly points out here – that rolling a can of liquid under pressure underneath the rotating scythes of a lawnmower (that may be electrically powered?) is not a bright thing to do and should not be imitated… Darwin Awards are possible…

  • Steph

    sigh…be careful what you wish for with the ‘sexism’ angle men. because if this is considered sexist and belittling to men, then the same could be said of pretty much every advert featuring ‘hot’ women. and trust me, there’s plenty more of those…the lynx adverts being just one example. and i know many men don’t like us women ‘overreacting’ to those…
    personally, i don’t think ‘displaying sexual attraction’ equals ‘sexism’ but admittedly this is not the same for for everyone. basically the point is: claiming this advert is sexist *won’t* justify or excuse the existing female ‘totty’ in other ads. it will just mean that all adverts featuring attractive people in ‘sex sells’ angles will be banned for fear of possibly offending anyone anywhere. possibly a good thing, but do consider whether you’re okay with that double-edged sword before leaping to ‘what about teh menz’ arguments.

    • Oh, there’s no doubt about how sexist much of advertising is – plenty of tits in advertising. But to see sexism ‘in action’ in an advert is pretty rare these days – when it does happen the chances are it’s a man being objectified, ridiculed or generally portrayed as an ass. Doesn’t happen too much the other way these days. Male gaze an all that excepted.

      • Thoughtful

        I’m not entirely convinced that this advert is all that sexist. An earlier poster questioned whether showing sexual attraction is sexist. In this ad, the guy sort of mocks the girls and re-takes control of the situation when he takes his top off. He’s not just an object, he’s also a subject. It’s equally derogatory to the women that they lose their minds at the sight of a male chest.
        There are worse ads out there!

        • I’m not especially worked up about it either way. But I don’t really buy the idea that the man is empowered really. The intent of the women is fairly obvious and not especially benevolent either way – I think this becomes obvious if you imagine the roles being reversed. The subsequent glares of sexual hunger when the guy takes his shirt off don’t really suggest a reversal of the power dynamic here.

          I’ve also noticed some billboards of a similar chest-and-abs combo with some sort of reference to a ‘great sixpack’. Again, stick a pair of tits on there with a reference to a ‘cracking pair’ and it’s a bit horrible.

          As you say, there are worse things that happen at sea but if I’m going to take adverts to task for objectifying women then I’m going to afford ads that objectify men the same courtesy.

  • Steph

    sigh…be careful what you wish for with the ‘sexism’ angle men. because if this is considered sexist and belittling to men, then the same could be said of pretty much every advert featuring ‘hot’ women. and trust me, there’s plenty more of those…the lynx adverts being just one example. and i know many men don’t like us women ‘overreacting’ to those…
    personally, i don’t think ‘displaying sexual attraction’ equals ‘sexism’ but admittedly this is not the same for for everyone. basically the point is: claiming this advert is sexist *won’t* justify or excuse the existing female ‘totty’ in other ads. it will just mean that all adverts featuring attractive people in ‘sex sells’ angles will be banned for fear of possibly offending anyone anywhere. possibly a good thing, but do consider whether you’re okay with that double-edged sword before leaping to ‘what about teh menz’ arguments.

    • Oh, there’s no doubt about how sexist much of advertising is – plenty of tits in advertising. But to see sexism ‘in action’ in an advert is pretty rare these days – when it does happen the chances are it’s a man being objectified, ridiculed or generally portrayed as an ass. Doesn’t happen too much the other way these days. Male gaze an all that excepted.

      • Thoughtful

        I’m not entirely convinced that this advert is all that sexist. An earlier poster questioned whether showing sexual attraction is sexist. In this ad, the guy sort of mocks the girls and re-takes control of the situation when he takes his top off. He’s not just an object, he’s also a subject. It’s equally derogatory to the women that they lose their minds at the sight of a male chest.
        There are worse ads out there!

        • I’m not especially worked up about it either way. But I don’t really buy the idea that the man is empowered really. The intent of the women is fairly obvious and not especially benevolent either way – I think this becomes obvious if you imagine the roles being reversed. The subsequent glares of sexual hunger when the guy takes his shirt off don’t really suggest a reversal of the power dynamic here.

          I’ve also noticed some billboards of a similar chest-and-abs combo with some sort of reference to a ‘great sixpack’. Again, stick a pair of tits on there with a reference to a ‘cracking pair’ and it’s a bit horrible.

          As you say, there are worse things that happen at sea but if I’m going to take adverts to task for objectifying women then I’m going to afford ads that objectify men the same courtesy.

  • Paul LJ Catlow

    Interestingly enough, American Apparel, the womens’ clothes people, have just been forced by the ASA to withdraw an advertising campaign because it was held to be “derogatory to women”

    http://www.thedrum.com/news/2013/04/10/asa-rules-against-overtly-sexual-american-apparel-ad?refresh=b3d6d744621be9c5b07db116fe281a25#comment-32199

    Now this features still shots of a woman in underwear or underwear plus a baggy top posing on a bed. No blokes, leering or otherwise, in sight. Relatively speaking, she displays a lot less bare flesh than the sex object pushing the lawnmower. Yet this advert remains on TV and the AA ad gets pulled? Why?

  • Interestingly enough, American Apparel, the womens’ clothes people, have just been forced by the ASA to withdraw an advertising campaign because it was held to be “derogatory to women”

    http://www.thedrum.com/news/2013/04/10/asa-rules-against-overtly-sexual-american-apparel-ad?refresh=b3d6d744621be9c5b07db116fe281a25#comment-32199

    Now this features still shots of a woman in underwear or underwear plus a baggy top posing on a bed. No blokes, leering or otherwise, in sight. Relatively speaking, she displays a lot less bare flesh than the sex object pushing the lawnmower. Yet this advert remains on TV and the AA ad gets pulled? Why?

  • Billy Liar

    I’m just a bit confused about the premise here. Have these working gals left their office gigs (indicated by their dress) to drive out to a convenient golf course to picnic away their lunch hours? Seems improbable, as that’s pretty inconvenient, but apparently is so. Second, do they not realize the inherent danger of rolling objects into the paths of power lawnmowers? I, for one, could not look away, anticipating the shower of pop-can shrapnel this poor greenskeeper would experience, as well as his difficulty in explaining it to the arriving medics.

  • Billy Liar

    I’m just a bit confused about the premise here. Have these working gals left their office gigs (indicated by their dress) to drive out to a convenient golf course to picnic away their lunch hours? Seems improbable, as that’s pretty inconvenient, but apparently is so. Second, do they not realize the inherent danger of rolling objects into the paths of power lawnmowers? I, for one, could not look away, anticipating the shower of pop-can shrapnel this poor greenskeeper would experience, as well as his difficulty in explaining it to the arriving medics.

  • Stephen montay

    Completely agree with the sexist aspect of these types of ad. But I do think there’s one out at the moment that’s even worse than the diet coke ad. The one where the old women on the beach are perving at the young bloke getting out the sea. I think it’s bertoli olive oil. He slips his shorts down under cover of a towel before one of the women sends her dog to rip it off of him. He’s stark bollock naked and the dirty old bitch even takes a photo! Now reverse the roles and imagine if that group of women was replaced with a group of dirty old men. Swap the bloke under the towel for a nice bit of totty slipping her bikini off and that ad gets banned instantly!

  • Stephen montay

    Completely agree with the sexist aspect of these types of ad. But I do think there’s one out at the moment that’s even worse than the diet coke ad. The one where the old women on the beach are perving at the young bloke getting out the sea. I think it’s bertoli olive oil. He slips his shorts down under cover of a towel before one of the women sends her dog to rip it off of him. He’s stark bollock naked and the dirty old bitch even takes a photo! Now reverse the roles and imagine if that group of women was replaced with a group of dirty old men. Swap the bloke under the towel for a nice bit of totty slipping her bikini off and that ad gets banned instantly!

  • Kymera

    As a man that firmly believes that equality should truly mean equality, I have to say my first impression of this ad completely agrees with you.

    My thoughts while watching it were that, if it was indeed men leering at a woman going through the same as this man, it would be deeply horrendous.

    Have you also noticed that the “Stupid man meme” has been updated slightly, recently? Now, it appears, if the man has a decent amount of facial hair, then he’s not stupid. He’s sensitive, caring, masculine, confident and any other positive descriptive you’d like to use. Woe betide a man in an advert that doesn’t have a beard because he deserves everything he gets … apparently.

  • Kymera

    As a man that firmly believes that equality should truly mean equality, I have to say my first impression of this ad completely agrees with you.

    My thoughts while watching it were that, if it was indeed men leering at a woman going through the same as this man, it would be deeply horrendous.

    Have you also noticed that the “Stupid man meme” has been updated slightly, recently? Now, it appears, if the man has a decent amount of facial hair, then he’s not stupid. He’s sensitive, caring, masculine, confident and any other positive descriptive you’d like to use. Woe betide a man in an advert that doesn’t have a beard because he deserves everything he gets … apparently.

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