It's no secret Americans are drinking less soda now than they have in years. So, we can't say we blame Coca-Cola for trying something new to hawk its product: Following plunging Diet Coke sales in recent months, Coke has decided to embrace its sugar-packed flagship soda while being careful to speak the preferred language of millennials — that is, in calories.
"A Coke used to cost 5 cents," begins the company's new ad, entitled "Coca-Cola Presents: Happy Cycle." "But what if a 12-oz. Coke cost...140 calories?"
The strange, new video above takes the premise that consumers "pay" for drinking a Coke with physical activity. In order to make the experience of preemptively burning off those 140 calories as "fun" as possible, the company built an elaborate, expensive-looking bicycle contraption that dispenses a can after participants have completed the 23 minutes of huffing and puffing Coke claims will offset those cals. Look how much fun these people are having "paying" for their soda, everyone! If only real life were this delightful.
It's certainly an intriguing direction for the company and reflects that it's heard the criticisms about sugar-laced products loud and clear — even if the brand hasn't changed its formula to address these criticisms. Still, it's an odd move that, at least for me, immediately calls to mind a particularly effective anti-soda NYC subway ad campaign that equated the calories in a 20-ounce soft drink to walking from Union Square to Brooklyn (about three miles). Logic would theoretically dictate that basing an ad campaign around the calorie (and sugar) content of your product may not be the best move, especially if you're a soda manufacturer. But, it seems like Coke has realized that if you can't beat the calorie-conscious masses, you might as well join 'em.