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.
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.
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.
Ever wanted to live in a yurt? Wear athleisure every day? It’s time to do whatever you want, whenever you want. Why? Because you can. Be the first to see our new TV ad here. pic.twitter.com/Ij7xLdEAhN
— Diet Coke GB (@DietCokeGB) March 5, 2018