Monday, February 02, 2009


Sadly, Bob's too old to enjoy the "Pepsi for life" clause of the contract.

When people find out that I work in advertising, they immediately ask about my thoughts on Mad Men. I like it. But then again, so does the whole entire galaxy. No big scoop here.
And while I'd prefer not to espouse on advertising in great length, there's something so inherently depressing/awful about the new Pepsi campaign brought to you by the ad agency TBWA / Chiat Day that I simply have to comment on it.

The premise of the commercial above--not the overall campaign--is that there's nothing new under the sun. Or as Greg said in an email:

"Isn't the message of that commercial depressing? it's saying nothing really changes... right? there will always be wars. there will always be fat funny dancing white guys. there will always be sell-out musicians. things may tweak a little, but not by much...
Hi-lighting the lack of real progress this country has made in the past 30 years is an interesting strategy, but maybe more suited for an alcoholic beverage. Not a "refreshing" soft drink."

Right-o, Greg. And let us note foremost that Dylan is featured because he is identified as the voice of his generation. But the truly misguided decision here was passing the torch to, the songwriter and producer of "My Lumps," "Let's Get Retarded," and "Pump It." This is the kind of mistaken over-compensation that only white men in an post-Obama world would make. Of all the people to represent our voice, please Lord, do not make it the man who co-penned "London Bridges."

But this commercial is only the beginning of the problem. Pepsi's current slogan "Refresh Everything" means what exactly? Why not simply "Refresh?" And is this "Refresh" as in a web browser refresh? Or "Refresh" as quenching? Color me confused. It's an empty randomness of two words from the English language masquerading as something significant and inspiring.

And interestingly (I'm not done here), as Stuart Elliott of the New York Times points out Pepsi was the choice beverage of Nixon and the Republicans back in the day which makes this new appropriation of free-spirited independence (both in retrospect, and in the present) and the Obama campaign even more bizarre.

It's been awhile since I reacted so strongly to anything advertising but the false promise purported by this patriotic can of fizzy bubelech feels so disingenuous that it's enough to further reinforce my love for Coke.

Or maybe it's just that I hate so hard.


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