“It’s good, no?” asks the worst man in the world, in this Diet Coke Mango advert for something called Diet Coke Exotic Mango, evidently part of Coca-Cola’s efforts to remain relevant to a new generation of absolute dickheads.
No. It’s not good. As is well established, Diet Coke tastes like petrol with a spoonful of Sucralose in it. I asked some followers of AdTurds what they thought it tasted like.
“Like what would come out of a ferret if you squeezed it too tightly,” read one that caught my eye.
“Like the smell of the pedal bin when the bag needs changing,” is another gruesome mental sensation.
The relationship between Diet Coke Mango and an actual mango is, I’d suggest, akin to the similarities between said fruit and a photocopy of a toddler’s drawing of a mango.
And yet Coca-Cola is desperate for us to hail these new flavours as if they are the emperor’s new low-calorie vegetable-based carbonated liquid. And to help, they’ve deployed what might be the most wilfully stupid ad campaign since Boris Johnson posed in front of a double-decker bus.
The reason is fairly clear: Coke, spooked by diversification in the market is chasing the youth quid. And when I say ‘youth’, I mean ‘idiot’. At least, that’s the only possible conclusion from this genuinely wounding set of Diet Coke adverts, that are barely one step above ‘goo-goo, ga-ga’ baby speak.
“I like Diet Coke, it’s supergood,” begins this new Diet Coke Mango advert. This is the second advert in this series that has used the ‘super’ prefix like a 50-year-old Dad wearing Adidas in the belief it makes him younger.
You can almost hear a room full of people staring at a report of words that 16-year-olds use and figuring out how they can work them into their ads, like a toddler whacking a jigsaw piece into the wrong slot.
He’s ‘totally into this,’ he tells us, after a big swig of the Exotic Mango drink (listed ingredients do not include mango). This is another repeat, after the young lady in the first Diet Coke ad told us that the drink ‘is delicious’.
Now I’m all for keeping things simple in advertising, but if your actors actually have to protest that your drink is really, really, good it smacks a little of desperation.
He’s into aerial yoga and DIY furniture. This is just pitiful, like some try-hard bell-end trying to impress a girl by listing ‘zany’ things they like. Coke says they’re targeting younger people who are ‘unapologetic’ about doing the things they like in these Diet Coke Mango adverts. There’s another word for doing things, just because you want to, especially if you’re unapologetic about it: ‘cunt’.
“Maybe you’re into friends who leave voicemails,” adds the man, in what sounds like some bizarre attempt at communicating in a secret code, before adding “I know I am!” with a slightly knowing look, again as if the audience is supposed to be in on this apparent double entendre.
“You’ve just got to like what you like – and I like Diet Coke,” is the pay-off to the sequence of baffling logical dead ends.
I’ve heard of ‘no hard sell’, but this is ‘no sell’. It actually leads me to ponder whether someone has taken up my theory of how most advertising works: the message is totally unimportant; the coverage is what matters. Would it matter what he said? If you chuck tens of millions of quids at TV companies, social networks and print, would it matter what you wrote?
Maybe Coca-Cola decided to find out. Or maybe they focus-grouped what vlog-loving, gibberish-tweeting, LOLing teenagers talk like and it happened to be as bereft of meaning as if they had just written down a load of old shite for a man wearing a 90s denim jacket to say anyway.
And maybe the people who took receipt of that research, having read its findings, realised that the game was up.
That it had all been for nothing and that humanity was on the downward slope of a bell curve, skiing gleefully towards Idiocracy like a farmer voting for Brexit.
If the rise of Millennials has coined the term ‘dawn of the dumb’, this Diet Coke Mango advert is their simpleton soundtrack.