The newest ad campaign for Diet Coke is turning heads but for reasons the brand would probably like to avoid. Launched in February under the tagline “You’re On,” with a spot starring Taylor Swift, it’s the outdoor ads that are raising eyebrows.
The positioning of the tagline above the logo appears to some to be a not-so-subtle reference to cocaine use. Get it? You’re on coke. The more wholesome interpretation, as seen in the Swift ad, applies the phrase’s showbiz meaning to everyday life. Of course a bunch of people getting their soda fix right before high-pressure or important moments doesn’t exactly dispel the drug vibe.
While questionable whether the brand or its agency Droga5 intended the ads to wink-wink-nudge-nudge, it wouldn’t be the first time an ad for a major brand had unintentional connotations. Hitler teapot, anyone?
The brand replied to our questions about the ads with a statement: “This advertising is one part of the new campaign for Diet Coke, which is called ‘You’re On.’ It celebrates ambitious young achievers from all walks of life and reminds them that Diet Coke is there to support them in the moments when they are at their best. Every single day, young people around the world experience ‘You’re On’ moments big and small. It could be a job interview or a national TV interview, a first date or a final exam, a presentation to your boss or a performance in front of thousands. The Diet Coke logo is the centerpiece of the ad campaign. Diet Coke in no way endorses or supports the use of any illegal substance.”
They’re probably wondering why no one is asking Miller High Life any questions.