The new Coca-Cola advert: they don’t just want your money, they want your heart

With its stereotypes about cool kids, nerds and brotherly bonds, Coca Cola are scraping the barrel with well-worn cliches

In life, you are either the goofy kid playing PlayStation or the tall boy going out to meet his friends; in life, you are either a nerd in a cap or some sort of lithe male supermodel constantly carrying a backpack around. And so to the new Coca-Cola spot, which pits these two eternal warring tribes – the tiny dweeblet and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s actor/model son – against each other in a battle to the bitter finish. Who will emerge victorious from this final blood spar? Annoyingly: the concept of love trumps everything. And so, our tiny hero is playing PlayStation when his older brother flips his cap down over his face. Some headphones are put on a high shelf when they didn’t need to be. Simple brotherly goofing.

We live now, apparently, in a console-and-mobile-enhanced version of the 1950s. But then the tiny boy is panting on a park bench in dire need of refreshment, and, oh no: a gang of bullies in sleeveless vests steal his Coke. Then Arnold Schwarzenegger’s actor/model son comes along and does some sort of judo-snarl at them, and peace is restored. It’s a nice moment, but also further evidence that adverts don’t want your money now; they want your heart tugged around in its cavity. Because didn’t it make you have emotions? Didn’t it just make you want to call your brother? Distantly, over a crackling line, to whisper: “I love you, you know, and I always did” to a baffled man three years older than you? Who asks you if you’re “dying or something”? We all did, and that’s what Coke wants. We’re all just bubbles popping uselessly in the brown morass of life.


Joel Golby

The GuardianTramp

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