According to Coca Cola, here’s life as it should be:
My incredibly biased transcript:
A young man enters a small grocery store. He is schlubby and sad-looking.
Caption: Starring OUR HERO.
He pulls a coke zero out of a beverage case. A woman walks up to him.
Caption: Co-starring “THE EX”
The Ex: Hi.
Our Hero: Hi.
A good looking man walks up behind the woman and stands next to her, looking possessive and smug.
The Ex: So… how have you been?
Our Hero looks sad for a moment, then takes a sip of the coke.
CUE ACTION SEQUENCES! Shots of dramatic-looking blood vessels and burning film! Writhing snakes! A guy riding a motorcycle out of an explosion!
Narration: From the makers of Coca Cola Zero comes a taste of life as it should be!
More fire! A woman shaking her hair! A horse rearing in front of yet more fire! And an explosion! Of fire!
A woman in heels walks dramatically through the grocery store. Ordinary people in the store gawk at her.
Hot Lady: Baby? Whipped cream, or chocolate sauce?
Cut to the woman writhing as chocolate sauce and white cream are poured all over her. (With FIRE in the background!)
Back in the grocery store, looking smug:
Our Hero: Both.
Hot Lady makes a Hot Lady Face at him, and then a helicopter descends on the grocery store. It sends papers flying all over the ordinary people who gawked at Hot Lady earlier. A chain drops from the ceiling, and Our Hero grabs it and Hot Lady.
Our Hero (to The Ex): You know me, I’ll manage!
The chain is pulled up and he and Hot Lady go through the ceiling of the store with an explosion. And live. It’s not really clear how this part works.
Cut to a bottle of coke, on top of a pile of writhing snakes (which are, sadly, not on fire.)
Narration: Great taste. Zero sugar. As it should be.
So… um. Yes. That is certainly what I think my life should be like!
I’m honestly a little lost for words when it comes to critiquing this thing. The total blandness of Of Hero, the shot of Hot Lady naked and covered in syrup, the stupid possessiveness about The Ex from both Our Hero and her new guy… it’s a lot of really ordinary and stupid sexism.
But then the video itself is so ridiculous in so many other ways, too. Like, writhing snakes? Surrounding your product? Delicious! And a serious obsession with explosions. I mean, I love action movies, and I didn’t think you could have too much exploding fire– but they managed it! It’s just really hard for me to take it seriously.
Except that while I’m sure the creators of the ad were aware that all the fire was over-the-top and more silly than awesome, I’m not convinced they were similarly self-aware about the sexism. I get the feeling they thought that was just awesome.
Especially when I look at their other videos, like Breakup: As It Should Be, which is actually even worse. The action is played for laughs, but the sexism is… endorsed.
Makes me glad I don’t drink Coke.