Perusing the shelves of my local Tesco for vaguely edible goods recently I stumbled upon individually named bottles of Coke. Apparently these bottles have the 150 most popular names in Britain plastered on them. Interestingly, a bottle of Coke named Peter is possibly the only time in my living memory I’ve ‘met’ ‘anyone/thing’ sharing the same name as myself. Turns out that there are actually plenty of Pete’s out there, just seems they’re mostly plastic bottles full of sugary brown goo.
What exactly are Coke trying to do here? The whole campaign whiffs of advertising company boardroom desperation. It feels as wrong-footed as the promoted/features ‘trending’ topics on Twitter – no one wants to talk about your product, so you’ll find desperate new ways to shove your tired down product down our throats (literally in Coke’s case).
An online ad for the campaign doesn’t explain much. I guess it’s supposed to be obvious that, in an age of social media, most of us have disappeared so far up our own backsides, with our Tweets and status updates, it’s not a long shot to expect we’d want to sup from ourselves, either.
One of the blathering muppets in the ad decides to drink from ‘Andrea’, her old school teacher. No better way to celebrate that person who inspired you during your education than to drink from a bottle emblazoned with their name. It’s what Andrea (now long pensioned off, or worse) would have wanted. Remember the exhilarating feeling of having ‘Dan’ or ‘Emily’ against the tip of your lips?
Customers (or friends, relatives, loved ones) are beseeched to send Coke photos of themselves enjoying a Coke on Twitter, to download the FB app and for those who aren’t lucky enough to make the top 150 names, find one of Coke’s special vending machines, which will produce a bottle with their presumably old fashioned or ethnic name.
All sounds a bit exhausting to me. I’ve had the luck of never being given Coke as a kid and only drinking one can in my entire life, saving me hundreds of £s and hours in dental work. Can’t stand the stuff and seeing my name plastered across the filth isn’t going to make me feel differently. I almost feel slightly sorry for Coke; it has all the feel of a corporate dinosaur, trying to win over da kids by trying to be our friend. This is standard corporate and advertising industry fodder of course, but it’s all a bit 20th Century, analogue marketing.
If you’re a bit of a misanthropic, miserablist like myself, you too may begin to worry that all our products will soon be anthropomorphised. Share a shower with ‘Gary’ the soap! Wash the scum off your toilet rim with ‘Sarah’ and why not just pop Gary’s lid and suck up the creamy white goo inside him…(he’s a yoghurt, btw)!? It takes enough effort finding a quiet space in our world, away from the crass sense of humour, bodily functions and disturbing opinions of others, without all our consumables wanting to be our ‘mates’. It would be so much easier if Coke continued to be itself, so we knew when to screen their calls, ignore their ‘trending’ topics and cross the street when we saw them coming with their twatty billboards.