Coca-Cola's House Rules campaign fails the taste test

Coca-Cola's House Rules campaign fails the taste test


Now I’ve been in advertising for over three and a half decades and I’ve done my fair share of howlers.

Nobody ever sets out to do a turkey, sometimes it just happens along the way. Too many compromises, too much interference, or sometimes the creative gods just aren’t with you.  The problem is, it is then put in the public domain where it is fair game for an almighty kicking from the viewing public.

This latest offering from Coca-Cola never had a chance in life even from its very conception.

I’ve watched a Paxman interview where he roasted the president of Coca-Cola Europe, pouring out 26 sachets of sugar from a medium-sized Coke cup you’d get in the cinema onto a table, asking him the justification for putting that much sugar in its full-fat variety.

His only answer was ‘well we do offer other sugar-free varieties’.

Not only is the ‘real thing’ adding 15 inches to your waistline, the sugar tax now adds 15 pence to the price tag.

The Big Idea

Why on earth would I buy Coke now? Well Coca-Cola, showing no contrition at all for all the accusations leveled at it, is giving us all some 'House Rules' to follow on those occasions when you should be sharing its product with friends and family.

In true American fashion, it ignores any of the issues raging in the obesity crisis and goes for the old heart attack… sorry, I mean heart strings.

What They Did

The ad is a montage of family scenes overlaid with a motto – like When you come in, say hello; Nothing is just for one, everything is shared; and When you make a promise, keep it. There’s a Coke bottle somewhere in every scene and a final line that reads, Every house has its rules, but they can taste special when we’re together.

A saccharin track is layered all over it like a thick coating of icing sugar whilst the camera glides through floors of the house picking out the tenants in that golden filtered sunlight reserved only for the most emotional and poignant of moments.

Oh yes, we see cute kids, cute dogs, cute couples all sharing precious moments together, all of which are acutely observed with lashings of the syrupy stuff.

To add insult to obesity, we are then told to taste the feeling. All I was tasting was that bit of sick that sometimes rises up the oesophagus when your stomach is turning.

The Review

Maybe this stuff works in the States. Trump does and I can’t get my head around that either.

But like when Trump came over here and big, fat, orange baby blimps awaited his arrival, this import is meeting with a big, fat, frosty reception from me.

This ad probably won’t generate the kind of millennial ire that the Pepsi Kendall Jenner ad did. From a brand that has always wanted to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony, it might just be accepted as the sort of hogwash we sometimes expect from the States.

In Hindsight

Unfortunately, it has left a rather unpleasant taste in my mouth and I can only offer it one star.  In the light of how we are educating kids to take better care of their bodies and health, shouldn’t we be sharing better information about how this can lead to early onset type-2 diabetes, not sharing this twaddle?

If you enjoyed this article, you can subscribe for free to our weekly email alert and receive a regular curation of the best creative campaigns by creatives themselves.

Published on: