The relationship between Diet Coke and its users is one fraught with bubbly highs and devastating lows. It's a vulgar, beautiful, intensely complex, and, ultimately, toxic drink. The Dior Poison of sodas. You either love it or loathe it. Which is why I was tickled to see it being marketed toward San Francisco's tech sect.
Wow. An agency got Diet Coke to buy advertising on 1 of the 3 public telephones in the Mission. pic.twitter.com/99yGx7PeB2— Mai Le (@mai) February 25, 2014
The ads — which can be found near Duboce Triangle, the Mission, and downtown San Francisco near 2nd and Beale and over on Stevenson — read:
"You moved to San Francisco with a crowd-funded website, a dad-funded hatchback, and a no-funded bank account. You're on."
"You moved to San Francisco with an engineering degree, an app idea and an investor named Nana. You're on."
"You moved to San Francisco with an idea for a start-up, a name for a start-up and zero money for a start-up. You're on."
Ah, yet another side on the already multifaceted die that is Diet Coke. Can you imagine Diet Pepsi doing the same? Of course you can't. Diet Pepsi is shit. (Diet Coke drinkers know this to be gospel.)
As for the ads, Business Times thinks the company could be screwing with techies. But the ads also parallel the company's plan at roping in younger drinkers (e.g., the use of the indefatigable and critically underrated Taylor Swift). As the New York Times reports: "The new 'You’re on' effort, created by Droga5, New York, presents Diet Coke helping Taylor Swift and other millennial women and men by providing an energetic 'uplift for those moments when you really need to be on.' "
The new ads threw several local writers and bloggers for a loop this week as it touched on an already-sensitive topic. We Built This City asks, “I’d say that I hope these ads are a joke or art piece, but they probably aren’t. I mean, seriously? Seriously?” And Mission Mission's Ariel Dovas notes: "New ads on pay phones seem to mock . . . something. But maybe the tone is what you bring to it. Maybe they’re meaning to celebrate a lifestyle or demographic that they’ve identified on some fancy charts as primed for targeting."
In the end, Coca-Cola's aim makes sense — like Coors or SKYY Vodka targeting the city's (eroding) LGBT community during Pride season.
SFist contacted the cola company for comment, but they wouldn't speak. Diet Coke, she's a mystery wrapped in a riddle. She's a bit frosty too.