The Brunching Shuttlecocks Ratings

Drink Coca-Cola (1886)
This was the original slogan. I understand advertising was much less reliant on mountain bikes and above-the-navel tube tops in the 1800's than it is now. This is the quintessential Coca-Cola slogan; it's short, it's vaguely authoritarian, and it completely fails to actually give any reasons why you should drink Coke. This is because you can't actually convince anyone they need Coke. You either like the taste or you don't, and it doesn't provide you with any benefits you can't get from other places, like hummingbird feeders. Their ad campaigns are instead based on making sure that everyone who would ever consider drinking Coke never forgets for an instant that the option is available. Anyhow, this at least is simple and to the point. A-

I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke (1971)
This was an offshoot of the unfortunate ad jingle turned folk song I was forced to sing too many times in grade school. The song was, among other things, about teaching the world to sing in perfect harmony, which is pretty ironic because most of the people I've heard sing it were in no position to be giving lessons. Don't get me wrong, I'm all in favor of starry-eyed idealism, but not when it's being used to sell soda pop, and especially not when it contains forced lines about snow-white turtledoves. D

Coke Adds Life (1976)
They missed out on a great chance for an ad here. Scene: the Garden of Eden, circa 4004 BC. God (looking not unlike the Coke-swilling Santa Claus of yore) forms Adam from the dust, humming mildly to himself as he does so. When Adam's prone and lifeless form is complete, God dribbles a couple drops of Coca-Cola onto his lips. Adam blinks, sits up, and sees the Big Guy holding an icy-cold bottle of Coke. Being only recently made of dust, he's parched, and reaches out to God in a pose strongly reminiscent of the Sistine Chapel. "Coca-Cola Adds Life." Boom, instant megahit. They could have followed up with a series of Old Testament Coke ads, and eventually released The Bible, Revised Caffeinated Edition. C+

Coke Is It (1982)
At this point they've gone from authoritarian to positively Orwellian. "Coke Is All There Is," the slogan seems to imply. "All Is Coke. There Are No Other Forms of Refreshment. Drink Coke Or Die Screaming." Armed, jackbooted Cola Enforcers roam the streets, dragging off anyone caught with a can of Mountain Dew. Children in school pledge allegiance to Coke. History books mentioning Pepsi are burned in secret. Red flags with jaunty white ribbons running across them snap sternly in the hot wind. "Coke. Do Not Attempt To Escape." A

Red, White and You (1986)
This was a result of the doomed New Coke fiasco. The Coca-Cola company, whipped into shame by people who never protested when their ketchup or paper towels were "improved," re-releases "Coca-Cola Classic" with this lame slogan. The ominous pronouncements of past campaigns are replaced with a wheedling humanist attempt to get people to identify themselves with Coca-Cola. Before, Coke was above mere humans; it was a force of history, a societal universal. Now it's a touchy-feely hands-on Soft Drink of the People. "Coke Feels Your Pain." D-

Always Coca-Cola (1993)
Now we're getting back into the familiar realms of overstatement. Coke already trades on nostalgia to an alarming extent, especially come Christmastide. This slogan, I think, is an attempt to pioneer the powerful advertising concept of "pre-nostalgia." Teen cola drinkers are too young to have misty memories of days gone by, but Coca-Cola assures them that one day they'll miss their days of looking forward to the time when they can look back fondly on their youthful exuberance for their nostalgic future. And Coca-Cola will have been there. B

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