AdTurds Bad Adverts – Badverts

22Mar/180

Diet Coke Advert 2018: Yurt, Athleisure and A Gaping Abyss

Diet Coke advert 2018

Well, well, well. A new Diet Coke advert. Like a Tory party broadcast or a Nigel Farage Question Time appearance, a new Diet Coke advert is to be greeted in much the same way as an unloved season. Tedious, inevitable - though more likely to make your guts explode.

I have a longstanding beef with Diet Coke, because their adverts are some of the worst ever devised. First there was the advert starring Duffy that not only killed Duffy's career stone-dead, it finished of Keith Duffy too, just for good measure - and he had nothing to do with it.

Second, the Diet Coke frotters, fingering their ringpulls when they spray their sticky stuff all over a man.

Now, a confession. I drink Diet Coke. I started drinking it with a vengeance when I quit smoking - it's the caffeine hit I guess - and haven't really weaned myself off it. And I can safely say that it's fucking horrible.

Diet Coke tastes like poison, in much the same way that smoking does. It's reminiscent of chemicals and something that vaguely resembles sugar. I drink Diet Coke because in some fucked-up psychological manner I associate the nicotine hit I still crave with whatever Diet Coke is doing to my synapses. And that's it.

So the claim that Diet Coke 'is delicious' lies somewhere on the honesty scale between Russia's denials that it has stockpiles of chemical weapons and any claim disputing the actual fact that Piers Morgan is a snivelling little cunt.

Secondly, the lady in this advert claims Diet Coke 'makes me feel good'. That's because it's full of chemicals that make your brain briefly go haywire. It's certainly bad for your teeth, worse than even full-fat soft drinks according to some authoritative reports, so it's no surprise that Coca-Cola's adverts don't even try to make the suggestion that Diet Coke is good for you in any objective way.

Diet Coke advert yurt

We then get the utterly baffling "You know what else makes me feel good? Athleisure!"

I like to imagine the young lady in question has a lisp, and she's actually saying 'ass-leisure'. I'll leave it for you to decide what that might entail.

Also I'm not sure why this apparently-British lady is using the American pronunciation 'lee-zure'. It's 'lejuh' - to rhyme with pleasure, like in 'leisure centre'. A small point perhaps, but another facet of this utterly horrible advert that seems determined to send precision-guided shooting pains through my head.

"Because it's comfy casual." Even Holly Willoughby couldn't be this simperingly vacant if you boiled her for 24 hours, collected the resulting residue and injected it into Nigella Lawson. Plus, what the fuck are you talking about?

Look, if you preface a statement with 'look' you're signalling that you're about to tell it like it is; to set the record straight. You might preface a sentence such as "It's not good news," or "We need to talk" with a 'look". Here we get some verbal incontinence about drinking pop and wearing lycra.

Next we hear that life is short. Which leads me to wonder whether this Diet Coke advert is simply trying to prepare us for the oncoming apocalypse? This is, surely, how the news will be broadcast to us anyway? Not with a stern-faced, gravel-voiced news anchorman, but by Clare Balding on a comfy sofa or a Reggie Yates documentary.

I don't want to live in a yurt, thanks, neither do I want to run a marathon (a side-note, if you use the prefix 'super' to create any word not already in the dictionary, I super-hate you).

But why is a drink that used to be extolled for its health benefits being advertised by a woman telling us to indulge ourselves, as if it's a Krispy Kreme donut injected wit Ket? Leaving aside the fact that, should I want to indulge myself, I'll be plumping for whiskey, fags, cocaine and a huge German prostitute, it's unutterably pitiful that a can of Diet Coke could be considered by anyone some sort of guilt-inducing gastronomic sin.

Unless that guilt is induced by the mountains of plastic waste Coca-Cola is responsible for - or for muscling in and drying up wells around the world, of course.

Diet coke advert athleisure

Bear with me, I'm nearly finished.

"If you want a Diet Coke, have a Diet Coke."

That's it? That's the pay-off to this sequence of dissonant Millennial brain-shart? Is this what William Shakespeare died for? Is that what a medium-sized Colombian cocaine-harvest produced? 'Have a Diet Coke - because you can'?

Rest in your grave Emmeline Pankhurst; sleep tight Stephen Hawking; dream fitfully Nelson Mandela - mankind has got it covered. We've had a long talk about it and we've decided that we've come up with the answer to life, the universe... everything. And the answer is... 'if you want a Diet Coke, have a Diet Coke.'

That's the sum total of human endeavour, right there. That's what 200,000 years of evolution, the renaissance and industrial revolution brought us. We've decided to hand over the reins of humanity to the Diet Coke demographic, with their athleisure and 'yurt it up'. We're superhappy with the results and we think the future's in safe hands.


Back in the 70s, ensconced in Berlin, David Bowie and Brian Eno refined a technique for creating music called Oblique Strategies. The idea is to encourage lateral thinking, often by doing something that might appear nonsensical or resulting in an apparent non-sequitur. In our short history such techniques have been used to create some of the finest art in history.

But in this Diet Coke advert, filled with meaningless, unconnected phrases that still manage to come off as deeply affected and hatefully hip, what appears to be a similar dynamic has birthed perhaps the most obnoxiously dumb 30 seconds in existence.

More nauseating than Trump boasting of grabbing women by their parts; more smug than Piers Morgan announcing he has won the Euromillions rollover; more thoroughly awful than Nigel Farage laughing while doing a shit in your bath, the Diet Coke advert is a Soho/Manhattan nightmare of vacant stupidity that literally has no meaning. You are trapped in it and there is no escape. Welcome to 2018. Welcome to the rest of your life.

Tagged as: No Comments
30Dec/1314

The Worst Adverts of 2013

NB. Skip the next thousand words if you're just here for the funny stuff

Four hours. That's how long, if you're an average Brit, you spend watching television every day. And, if you're not watching the BBC, that means one whole hour of adverts every day.

There's a popular misconception that you don't pay anything when you're watching ITV or one of the free satellite channels. This is bollocks since you pay what amounts to a television tax at the checkouts when you buy the products you see advertised on television. Of course, if you subscribe to Sky you're not only creating the very adverts in the first place, you're also paying for the privilege to watch adverts: a double whammy that seems to be strangely overlooked by licence-fee whingers.

The Diet Coke cumshot

The Diet Coke cumshot

So, an hour of advertising every single day that you're paying for and also paying someone else to watch. Imagine allowing a door-to-door salesman into your home for an hour a day - and you pay him for the privilege. Or standing in front of a load of billboards for an hour every day - you bought them. Or switching on a television channel for the express purpose of being brainwashed by advertisers for an hour every single day - at a fiver per half hour. 365 hours a year. 16 days. Two weeks. Half a month. Every Sunday you might as well go to the cinema for seven hours just to watch adverts and pay for the privilege. Insane.

I wrote this after a walk through Hartlepool's town centre - a north-east conurbation that has been shat on from a great height by government policy, town planning and profiteering private landlords grown fat on the benefits of the feckless, ill, terminally unemployable or luckless.

30 pieces of silver

30 pieces of silver

Shorn of any meaningful industry or trades much of the north-east produces virtually nothing of value these days. Jobs mainly exist to service people and in this environment the requirement to sell stuff - necessarily goods of little or no value bought by people with no money on tick - becomes even greater, because without even this meagre trade even the hellish shopping centres and retail parks would be turned into rubble-strewn £2.50-a-visit parking lots.

Pound shops, value marques, charity outlets and even food banks make up much of the town centre. A friend of a friend runs one of those shops that sells food supplements and herbs. Recently his main supplier told him that he couldn't sell to him any more as he'd become an approved supplier to Holland & Barrett, a place whose clients are nothing if not eclectic, seemingly consisting solely of doormen seeking muscle protein and arthritic pensioners buying St John's Wort. The whey-protein vendors told him that he would not be allowed to supply anyone else within a certain radius. So another independent retailer is crushed into the dirt, the town becomes a little more homogenous and what little money there is is concentrated in the pockets of multinationals and spirited out of the town.

This watch will give me access to your fanny

This watch will give me access to your fanny

A job for a job, you might think. But that really isn't the case. Some jobs generate less value, per capita, than others and it's the big beasts who create the least value. An indie might generate, say, £20,000 a year. A McJob might create only £15,000. So when one of these places boasts of creating 20 new jobs the chances are there's a net loss in value to the region. Remember that, next time Tesco comes a-calling.

Why is this relevant? Because this system we live in relies on buying more and stuff. Stuff that we don't need. Stuff created abroad by miserable people for buttons, of material that's designed to become obsolete within months, requiring us to replace it with more shit. That the end of the line for these 'goods' is a place like Hartlepool, full of people with no money, is particularly perverse but it's become one of the prime money generators in our utterly fucked economy. Buying shit. It's a little like the last days of Rome, but with a TOWIE onesie instead of a Bacchanalian orgy.

Costa buries its employees

Costa buries its employees

The fuel for this ghastly engine is, of course, advertising. It's become utterly imperative that we keep purchasing, well beyond our needs or even meaningful desires. Thusly television adverts take on a greater significance. They must make us buy things we neither want nor desire. Our out-of-control demand drives down prices, which means everyone along that chain earns a little less. In doing so we perpetuate a system that destroys jobs, money, value and choice. We're all racing to the bottom; a fevered, insane dash to pay ourselves less, rob ourselves of hard-fought rights and salve our bruised personalities with holidays, cars and cheap shit - palliatives to block out the horror of it all.

Look around you the next time you're in a shopping centre, a supermarket or fast food joint. If you're particularly unlucky you might experience a chilling moment of clarity; a horrible insight into what lies beneath the facades. The Amazon warehouse, the Asian sweatshops, the palm oil plantations, the mines that provide the precious metals for electronics, the vast mechanised slaughterhouses. We're all complicit in this; we're born complicit. But we don't have to like it.

Arse wiping over a cocktail

Arse wiping over a cocktail

Adverts are the devil on our shoulder, whispering that we deserve it, that it's Christmas; a can of pop, a smartphone, a 12-month subscription to Netflix will complete us. Only adverts are done whispering. Adverts will mislead, pester, guilt-trip and annoy in their efforts to encourage us to cough up, barely stopping short of a metaphorical skull-fucking in terms of the aural assaults adverts increasingly lob at us. Adverts will inveigle and batter their way past your personal spam settings. They're not simply unskippable on a DVD these days, they're unskippable in your head. As a concept I find that objectively sinister.

Advertising doesn't have to be bad. It's just that advertisers have cottoned on to the fact that bad adverts frequently work better than good adverts. Remember that old maxim about a bad meal, and how you'll tell ten times more people telling their friends about a negative experience than a good one? We're wired to remember those details: the slap in the face, the finger in the door, the hair in the soup and that bloody awful tune that we can't get out of our heads. To be in your heads in what advertisers want, cooing that you deserve a new satnav or imprinting their url on your mind like cattle being branded.

Emotional mcblackmail

Emotional mcblackmail

Advertising pretends to be your friend. It is not. I can't tell anymore whether it is a symptom of our slavery to the worst excesses of the market or something more sinister: something that is leading us further down to the road to our own anaesthetic stupor; a wanton shoulder-shrug, idle channel-hop and a listless wank.

Ads may sometimes be a bit of fun, they might even be amusing and cheering occasionally. But they are not benign. They are precision-guided missiles aimed directly at your sense of guilt, unhappiness, esteem, self-image and alienation.

You choose to watch them for an hour a day while they try to fuck you up.

In that context, they're all bad. But these are the worst. Merry Christmas.


Diet Coke

Women get wet while humiliating a man.

• Read the original Diet Coke AdTurd

Samsung

Oh, hai rapey man with a modern-day Swatch Watch. Even though you look, sound and act like a twat I'm going to give you access to my vagina cos I like your wristphone.

Costa Coffee

Bean vendors try to convince us that the minimum-wage slaves they employ give a fuck about your Americano that you actually want milk in.

• Read the original Costa Coffee AdTurd

Santander

A bank makes stalkers live with sportspeople. Most of them seem to have some sort of alarming crush on said sportspeople now; at the beginning it was the other way round. There's some relationship dynamics right there. Expect Jessica Ennis' head to be found in a bucket soon.

• Read the original Santander AdTurd

Andrex

Simply the worst advert of all time. Or, if you will, a shit ad.

• Read the original Andrex AdTurd

McDonalds

Emotional blackmail with your sugar-flavoured gakburger, sir? Nah, you're alright.

• Read the original McDonalds AdTurd

EDF

"I'm sorry to say the tests show you have a zingy, Mr Brown. You've got six months before your eyes fall out."

• Read the original EDF AdTurd

Sky

Celebrity cunts tell lies for money.

• Read the original Sky AdTurd

Admiral

The 'ordinary voice' meme is, perhaps, 2013's most aggravating. No doubt it's relatable. It's also horrible.

Vauxhall

A rap about a Vauxhall Corsa. KRS-ONE would turn in his grave, if he were dead.

• Read the original Vauxhall AdTurd

Muller

So try-hard you can imagine an ad exec wanking in the background while this got shot.

Lotto

2013's most annoying noise - another appearance for the 'ordinary voice' meme - has returned for Christmas to mop up any viewers who may have luckily escaped thus far, like a battlefield executioner dispatching wounded soldiers with a bullet to the head. Oo-wack-a-doo-what-a-loada-crap.

CompareTheMarket

This carnivorous fish was vaulted a long time ago but watching these once-amusing adverts devolve into late-era Only-Fools-And-Horses drivel has been painful. The only sane response is to hope for a cobra attack on the whole troop followed by twitching deaths, like when Flower got offed in Meerkat Manor.

Wonga

Enough to make one pray for the second coming just so Christ can twat the money-lenders again. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Coke

You might not think there's much that's particularly hateful about this, apart from its syrupy, sickly chicken-soup-for-the-soul bullshit and that awful kids' choir. But look closer - this is the Irish version of the advert and it's more notable for what it doesn't include than what it does. Compare it with the UK version below, which features a happy - and gay - couple. Seems Coke can conquer anything - apart from homophobia. And tooth decay, obviously.


• Want more? Read the lists from previous years...

Worst adverts of 2012

Worst adverts of 2011

Worst adverts of 2010

Worst adverts of 2009


Now vote for the worst of 2013

Hate adverts?

This is the one chance you’ll ever get to fight back against terrible adverts. For once, the boot can be on the other foot. Deliver it to the knackers of evil – and hit the buttons below.

Still here?

You should definitely sign up below. Every extra follower makes Gladstone Brookes unhappy.