Have you heard about these vending machines Coca-Cola set up in China? Apparently, because fewer folks are getting hitched, they set up a vending machine with suuuuper tough to open bottles of Coke in it. Because, you know, soda prevents you from getting married and Coke execs are super jazzed about their new motto - destroying their business from the inside.
I kid. They did this in an advertorial bid to recreate a scene thankfully not in When Harry Met Sally. One wherein young, single, broads’ need for cola proves too dire and they ask a passing handsome dude to open it for them. Upon successfully opening the can, they engage in floating-in-space eternal coitus and give birth to Cherry Coke, Diet Coke, and the family loser, Coke Zero (whose motto should be ‘there’s one in every family’ - thank me later Coca-Cola.)
All of this is set to musical stylings of Peaches. This is a lie. But it doesn’t have to be. Quick, let’s start our own soda company and a get a Kickstarter going! Also - who knows Peaches personally?
You know what would happen if I got a bottle of cola I couldn’t open out of a machine? I would try to furtively open it with my teeth. Then if it still didn’t open, I would be less furtive with it and start growling as I clenched my jaws around the lid. If it remained staunchly opposed to getting in my mouth, I'd start a loud running commentary about how stupid these machines are, and ‘oh my god this is ridiculous’ while darkly chuckling, in the hopes that all passing would realize that it wasn’t that I’m too fat and out of shape to even successfully open a soda - it’s that the bottle’s very design was flawed. IT IS THE BOTTLE NOT ME, I’d think in a sweaty panic.
At no point would I ask someone to open it for me. If I was that desperate for cola (and girl, I am a DC fiend, no lie, love me that chemical flavor. Using to chase Ibuprofen is how I get through my period ever at all.) I’d take the bottle home, tell a charming anecdote about the hilariously difficult-to-open bottle to my cat and/or roommate, and then cut open the bottle with a knife. Then I would take a photo of that ‘hacked’ bottle and tweet to Coke being all “SERIOUSLY @COKE?” or perhaps “CHEERS MOTHERFUCKER”, something to that effect. We know it would be in all-caps though, because, hi, have we met? After posting, someone, maybe this guy Randall who I don’t think I know, will favorite that tweet. I will feel happy about this.
If I’m in a more downtrodden mood, I’d probably proceed in much the same fashion. Except in the end, I would take a photo of me looking sad with the bottle of cola and pointing to the scar on my wrist from surgery last summer being all “Does @coke hate the disabled?” I’d wake up the next morning and regret it. Later, I’d see imaginary Randall’s DM: “You okay, Bee?” Granted, this could mean that Randall and I bond, fall, in love, and get married, using Twitter-bird place cards for folks at the reception, thus fulfilling Coke’s dreams. But the odds of that are slim because he is not real.
My question for Coca-Cola is why not flip the sexism if you’re going to use such a tired mode? For your next campaign, give a man faulty directions to a vending machine giving out free sodas. That way, the only chance he can actually get there is if he’ll ask someone for directions. Joke: HE WILL NEVER GET THE COLA BECAUSE OF HUBRIS.
It saddens my heart to see the infamous meet-cute so distorted. It’s advertising taking rom-coms and distilling them to their funkiest, gnarliest, bits. Admittedly, it’s not as though rom-coms are high art. Nor have they ever been - or claimed to be - the last bastion of Feminism brought to the screen.
Still, at least those flicks practice your odd bit of Tokenism, all having women in high powered jobs (admittedly only in publishing and restaurant ownership, but still) and what have you. When I think about the some of my favorites, I can’t help but also think of their authors, women like Nora Ephron who would never in a million years have a man and woman meet because she knocks on his door with a particularly challenging jar of Ragu. (Side bar: FUCK Ragu - go Prego, or go home. Prego - that one is on the house, because of how your pre-fab sauces are the most acceptable.)
The campaign also underlines a particularly old-school notion - that love, romantic, birds swooping around, Igor-ringing-the-bells-style love, is the exclusive provenance of marriage. I understand that there is a cultural weight put upon unmarried folks in China, but to say love outside marriage doesn’t exist at all? That it needs to be conjured up by soda selling professionals? This just ain’t so.
What’s the most sexist commercial you’ve seen lately? What are your thoughts on the objectification of dudes in ads these days? Me? I have no problem with it because, abs. God, I’m starting to think that if I were a guy, I’d be the worst. Anyway, share in the comments! Also share your best ways of curing yourself of a Diet Coke addiction - one less monkey on my back would be baller.