It is probably a sad indictment of my life that I can relate most of my youth to Coca Cola adverts.
The first one I can remember was this from 1979. To a young seven year old, the sight of the people jumping around inside the huge ball looked like more fun than any person could possibly have. I can also recall my Mum pointing out that it would have been bloody hot inside that ball, and so it probably wasn't all that much fun.
The next advert to really resonate was the 1983 one with the giant hollow inflated Coke can. Who didn’t want to grab onto one of the handles and be whizzed over the top? My Mum at this juncture would point out that she hoped they weren't doing this shallow water, because if they were there would be a chance that one of them could hurt their neck if they hit the bottom and thus cause spinal injury.
The Coke ad in 1987 was somewhat un-subtly influenced by The Big Chill – which was rather odd given The Big Chill was 5 year’s old by this stage. My Mum was completely ignorant of The Big Chill so she didn’t really have any comment on this advert, and probably didn’t understand why me and my best mate wanted to invite around some girls one night while there were out and make hot dogs and drink Coke.
When this advert came out in 1988 I was disgusted. Firstly I hated the Ganggajang song “Sounds of Then (This is Australia)” and so hated this advert (not like the good old days when they had a inflated Coke can – I suggested to my Mum, who by this stage was wondering what the hell I was on about), but also I was disgusted that a band would sell out so easily.
This advert in 1992 was trumpeted as being the first Australian Coke advert that got a run throughout the world. I liked it – yeah it was good, and I could see why the kids liked it… but really sky surfing? Really? Is anyone seriously going to do that? Though I did have to admit I was still waiting to get invited to a beach party where there was a giant inflated Coke can…
The last Coke advert that really resonates from my youth is one from my late Uni days. It was the one that marked the change from “The Real Thing” to “Always Coca-cola”. When I first saw it, I couldn’t believe that Coke had abandoned the “summer vibe”; had thrown away all those years of fun in the sun with friends drinking Coke. What a joke. And yet I found myself humming the damn jingle, and actually finding I liked the advert. I liked the artwork, and for some reason it just had a vibe that felt right, felt now, felt the 1990s. Now when I look back at them all it is actually my favourite – most likely because of the period it reminds me of, but also because for some reason that I don’t quite understand it is the one that makes me want to drink a Coke the most.
What is interesting though, is obviously I was not the only one wishing for a return to the inflatable ball, becasue here is the most recent Coke advert. The influence from 1979 is pretty clear:
I couldn’t end without however showing the greatest soft drink advert of all time (no, not the Elle Macpherson Tab one), I’m talking the Mellow Yellow advert. More unintentional hilarity is present here than any advert should rightly have. They certainly don’t make ‘em like they used to:
The American version just lacks a certain something, can’t quite put my finger on it though…
Have a good weekend.