THE INC. LIFE

Coca-Cola Just Released a Shocking Ad (But What’s Stunning Is The Consumer Response)

Times have changed.

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BY Chris Matyszczyk - 07 Mar 2017

And the controversy was that there was no controversy.

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

 

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.

It's one of America's most wholesome brands.

It's based in Georgia, for goodness sake. Everything is wholesome there.

Yet here was Coca-Cola releasing an ad that, oh, didn't just push the boundaries, but picked them up and threw them into a ravine.

The ad, of course, a wholesome, family situation. A wholesome, rich family situation. This was still Coke, after all.

There was a bare-chested, gorgeous pool boy. Coke has enjoyed objectifying men before, in advertising Diet Coke.

But here, there was a twist. Once people saw it, surely they'd find it twisted.

At first, we see that the daughter has taken a shine to the pool boy. Then she has competition. Her brother rather likes him too. Yes, like that.

So they compete, in the only way that siblings know. At least in a Coke ad. They see who can be first to give the pool boy an ice-cold Coke.

I won't spoil the twist for you, save to say that there's a happy ending. I mean, of course, that there's no violence, but a little drama.

But wait, this is Coca-Cola. In prime-time. Offering a gay-friendly ad.

Surely in these conservative times, as we look over our shoulders toward the Dark Ages and fear the societal train is about to hurtle toward them in reverse, this would cause controversy.

And it did.

Fox News took it upon itself to find outraged conservatives, ready to batter down the doors of Coke's headquarters, ready to rail at yet another tear in the nation's social fabric.

Here's what Fox News said: "'Pool Boy' is getting generally positive feedback online."

This cannot be. There must be entreaties begging America to turn its back on this fizzical atrocity.

What about our faith? Our children? Our very reason for being the way we are? With this lurch toward Sodom, there will be no Tomorrah.

It seems, instead, that the nation looked upon this ad, had a little giggle and ogle, and went on its way.

Or, as Out.com put it: "Sibling rivalry has never looked more inclusive."

Whatever frightened people may say in marketing meetings, times do change. So do attitudes. Brands can nudge that along.

Why worry if you'll offend someone? Worry more about whether the ad is right for your brand and the people who might buy it.

As so many companies are driven toward making social and political statements by our slightly demented times, it's heartening to see one of the biggest -- and, in many ways, one of the more conservative -- brands depict something akin to the true new normal.

Yes, this sort of thing is happening all over your subdivision every day.