“The Coke sign does not simply mean a refreshing drink: it means America got there first.” So says Humphrey McQueen in his book, The Essence of Capitalism: The Origins of Our Future. Studying the development of youth culture should include the impact of Coca Cola’s television advertising campaigns. I grew up with the images of fun-loving teenagers on the beach spilling and drinking coke, and rolling around inside giant plastic balls. “Coke adds life and everybody wants a little life”. It was no coincidence that my first spending from my income as a lawn-mowing teenager was coca cola. However my fascination with the ‘life drink’ was dampened by an incident at work in the supermarket. Coke was sold in glass bottles still. Out in the store room one of the bottles had broken without anyone knowing for a couple of months. I found the sticky mess left – black sugar. Yech.
I never really bought into the “Like to teach the world to sing – It’s the Real thing” ads. It felt like it was slightly before my time.
Reward Your Curiosity
Coca cola has continued to up the ante on television advertising. I think of the phrase, “Reward your curiosity” whenever I drink Vanilla Coke. And I think of the 2002 ad where this guy (Jesse Pinkman) peeks through a hole in the fence only to be dragged in and put in a head lock by taste merchants (Chazz Palminteri and sidekick Jimmy) offering smooth and intriguing vanilla coke.
Life Tastes Good
Coke’s probably aiming at my teenage kids now. There’s the Night Swimming ad – “Life Tastes Good” – with the more daring version of the beach ad of my teenage years.
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