“Advertising is legalized lying.” – H. G. Wells
There’s a lot of shit that’s rubbed me the wrong way during coronavirus…okay, there’s a lot of shit that rubs me the wrong way in general, but COVID-19 really seems to have brought out the worst in everyone…except me.
The current target of my ire is Coca Cola. The soft drink giant recently put out a commercial called ‘The Great Meal’. I’ve embedded the commercial below if you want to watch for yourself, but it’s nauseating to say the least. For those who chose to pass on the corporate cringe fest, it’s 90 seconds of people preparing home cooked meals while drinking the aforementioned soda.
Now, you may be thinking, ‘I dunno Mike, this seems like a harmless soda commercial.’ Don’t worry, I’ll get into the nitty gritty of why the commercial is a steaming pile of shit in just a second, but first I wanted to take a moment and point out the absurd amount of self-sucking that Coke did after releasing this gem. Here are some of my favorite quotes:
“We wanted to bring to life an authentic, human story to capture how we’re all reappreciating the moments that matter most and to remind us that we’re part of one big, global family,” said Sarah Traverso, group director, IMC production and Coca-Cola North America Social Center.
Really? An authentic human story? You make poison sugar water that people pair with burgers and fries dipped in trans fats. What ‘authentic human story’ are you telling? The heartwarming tale of a man who works hard, loves his family, drinks Coke every day and eventually dies of an obesity induced illness like heart disease, Type II diabetes, or any number of cancers? You know what, you’re right, if that isn’t the quintessential American story, I don’t know what is.
“It’s an invitation to not leave anything on our plates, figuratively and literally… to not leave things unsaid or undone, and to walk forward with appreciation for the experiences shared around the dinner table.”
No it isn’t. Look bitch, I’m 35-years-old and in good health. The only time I drink Coca Cola is when I’m crippled by a raging hangover and need to flush my body with large amounts of liquid carbohydrates in a very short period of time. When I ‘walk forward’ after that it’s not ‘with an appreciation for the experiences shared around the dinner table’, it’s to get away from said table so I don’t accidentally euthanize my friends and loved ones with a round of putrid hangover gas.
There’s more verbal garbage like that in the press release, but I’ll omit it here at the risk of alienating readers. What’s really infuriating about the ad — beyond the predictable corporate fart sniffing– is that the premise is just absurd.
“The Great Meal” is an homage to the silver linings of a global pandemic,” or so they say. Well I say that’s a great big steaming pile of bull doody! First of all, the people in this ad are preparing intricate, impressive meals that involve slicing and dicing, and sauteeing, and braising. Meals that look like they belong on the cover on Bon Apetit magazine.
Nice try Mr. Cola, but the average American fatass wasn’t making a crab stuffed Chilean seabass during lockdown. The average American fatass was loading up on fried and frozen foods to clog their arteries with during Tiger King binges. Seriously, this isn’t just me being a meathead and calling fat asses fat, there really was an almost 80 percent spike in the sale of frozen french fries during the first 4 weeks of lockdown and there are loads more stories like this. Everyone else was ordering Seamless under the guise of supporting local restaurants, but really it’s just because CNN scared them into believing they’d die of COVID-19 within 10 minutes of setting foot in the produce section, like it’s a rat infested street market in Florence circa 1351.
As for the rest, those who were stepping it up in the kitchen and cooking probably weren’t pairing their sumptuous, gourmet meals with a can of soda. Even recovering alcoholics would look at you like an asshole if you suggested washing down a New York strip steak or shrimp scampi with a can of vanilla Coke. It’s the basis for an entire line of Costanza-based mockery in an episode of Seinfeld.
And guess what? Your whole message about people connecting through the magic of food and finding the silver lining in a lethal global pandemic (with race riots and an economic collapse sprinkled in). It’s a false premise. This thing has been a goddamn nightmare, it’s chaos, in some places there is literal anarchy going on.
Let’s take a quick look at the first half of 2020 so far. Forget the fact that a national icon and his promising young daughter were killed in a fiery helicopter accident. Let’s focus on the really bad stuff:
-People’s lives are falling apart
-Savings and retirement accounts are being gutted
-Businesses are being destroyed (literally and figuratively)
-Domestic abuse, addiction, suicide, and mental health problems are on the rise
-Armed militias have taken over cities in the Pacific Northwest
-New York City and Chicago have turned into shooting galleries
-Middle aged women have become Public Enemy Number 1 due to their collective knack for throwing public, often racially fueled fits.
-Everyone who hasn’t died of coronavirus or taken to the streets to cosplay as a member of the French Revolution, is on social media accusing old friends and complete strangers alike of being either ‘old people killing racists’ or a ‘freedom hating cop-killers.’
You know what people aren’t doing? They aren’t sitting around in a fucking drum circle singing ‘I’d Like To Buy The World A Coke.’ If they were someone would probably drive a van through the middle of it to punish them for violating social distancing.