Monday, February 12, 2007

Who has Coke bought this time?

Cherry Coke, the unloved half-brother of the more famous Coca-Cola, is something of a mystery. It tastes like it's made from a mixture of flat cola and the sweepings from a 1970s Woolworths pick-and-mix tray, and yet they still churn out gallons and gallons of the stuff. Every so often, they attempt a makeover to reposition the drink, seldom managing to take it from the back of the fridge. Aficionados of useless drinks remember the black-and-red cut-out font with affection - one of the few times you could be sure from a distance that the can was cherry and not proper Coke, thus ensuring you got the disappointment out your system without having to actually withdraw a can from the back of the shop display.

Cherry Coke is now getting another makeover, to help mark the launch of a sister product, Cherry Coke Zero. (Yes, all the flavour of Cherry Coke, but none of the sugar - although it's hard to imagine a reasonable orthodontist who wouldn't admit you'd be better off with all the sugar and none of the flavour.) The cans are still camouflaged to fool the unwary into thinking it's proper coke in a funky can, but the muted pastel-pink colour scheme isn't offset by the skyscraper-design around the bottom. It looks like a girly drink. Now, we drink Campari and Orange from time to time, and that sort of thing doesn't bother us overmuch, but making your drink look like it comes from a powder-and-make-up range seems to be a curious decision. Especially when the sub-brand, Zero, is aimed at men who feel that supping a diet drink might make them look too much like one of the Scissor Sisters for their own comfort.

So that's probably why they've called in Jay-Z to write the jingle. Jay-Z isn't afraid to moisturise, and he still knows how to do a kneecapping if need be. Yes, we can see why Coke might need Jay-Z. What we're not clear about, though, is why multi-bazillionaire Jay-Z needed them. Especially to hook himself up to such a poor product. Drinking Cherry Coke might show a disregard for taste; pushing it on the telly just shows a lack of it.