Okay: that Coca-Cola video. I was out last week attending to matters of important personal business and, as a result, missed most of the tsk-tsking and are-they-serious? giggles in its wake. To recap: the beverage giant, fearing that it's about to absorb a few love taps from the regulatory mallet, released "Coming Together," a clip proclaiming that it is an ally in the fight against obesity, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, pancreatitis, kidney failure, cavities, sugar tongue and every other health scourge to which overconsumption of its 650 beverages may or may not contribute. Check that - Coca-Cola isn't just an ally; it's the ally, the United States to the FDA's France.
But my goal here isn't to pick apart "Coming Together." No, I'm inserting myself into the debate as a concerned friend - you know me, a total softie for struggling multinational monoliths that are dealing with some heavy stuff, man. In that spirit, I offer up a six-pack (synergy!) of ideas for Coca-Cola's next videophonic attempt to charm the masses.
Concept #1: "Simpler times, simpler choices": We open on a moonlit drive-in, where pretty Cindy sips ever-chastely from her bottle of Coca-Cola BlK as her date for the evening, gentle Bobby, eyes her with only the most honorable of intentions. We then cut to scenes of wholesome-looking teens clad in Annette Funicello-grade beach togs doing typical teen stuff - hula-hooping, cheering on the football team, putting up decorations for the big dance - with delightfully frosty Coca-Cola beverages in hand. Then comes the kicker: "Coca-Cola, because today is yesterday's tomorrow." Feasibility: Classic Americana no longer plays well in the heartland - thanks a lot, crystal meth. Also, the #cleanfun hashtag might already have been co-opted by the ironists at Barky Beaver Mulch & Soil Mix.
Concept #2: "NO-BAMA!": A few months back, 47 percent of the population spoke with the power and potency of a thousand electric tubas. Its collective voice could not have been heard any more clearly: Big government is for losers. In the wake of this groundswell, Coca-Cola would be foolish not to drive its refrigerated syrup tanker through the populist gate (that is, the one hand-operated by non-union proles). I'm thinking Clint Eastwood for the end-of-clip narration: "The government has come for your guns and now your refreshing happydrinks. What's next, your cuticle scissors? Drink Coca-Cola beverages - because freedom tastes like hydrogenized fructose." Feasibility: During Presidential primary season, absolutely. Tuck this one away for 2016.
Concept #3: "Look in the mirror, Tubby": The camera opens on Coca-Cola chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent. He's dimly lit and his mouth is creased in an annoyed smirk. Clearly he would rather be anywhere than here. After a bemused sigh and a quick "is this on?" aside to the camera operator, he launches into the following spiel: "I can't believe I have to come out and announce this, but soda and soda-ish drinks cannot be found on any creditable food pyramid. They are not a part of any sane diet. You people have read the labels, right? They're on the bottle for a reason. I could rhapsodize about how the health of our customers is as important to us as our wonderful network of distributors, but really: Coca-Cola believes in personal responsibility. It's not our problem if you can't dig deep into your reserve of self-discipline and lay off our products. We'll change only if you force our hand; the only thing that will motivate us to manufacture healthier beverages is if y'all stop buying our growth-stunting sugarades. Anyway, pay attention to the nutritional character of everything you cram down your food hole, or don't. It's all the same to us." Feasibility: Do libertarians drink fizzy drinks? Focus group, assemble!
Concept #4: "Controversy? What controversy?": It's a beautiful day and the sun is shining and everybody is playing ball on the lawn and babies are walking their first steps and dogs are barking playfully and there are sandwiches and things like divorce and melanoma and Styrofoam totally don't exist and la la la drink Coca-Cola beverages because hey why not? Feasibility: Denial remains our elite default coping mechanism.
Concept #5: "One Direction drinks Coca-Cola. Ergo, so should you.": Hand each of the lads a different Coca-Cola beverage. Instruct them to smile and display the rakish wit that was recently installed at self-marketing reeducation camp. Watch as the average weight of an American she-tween soars to a cool 135 pounds. Feasibility: One Direction has already allied itself with the enemy, plus you'd have to auto-tune the satisfied post-chug "aaaaah!" That sounds expensive.
Concept #6: "No, you didn't hear us last time. We are part of the solution, not part of the problem.": "Coming Together" attracted a whole lot of attention - and as we've learned over and over again, all publicity is good publicity, except when there's dogfighting. This time around, there should be more nutritionally specious claims, like "a meal of turbo nachos and Sprite Zero has zero calories, because 4,600 calories times zero calories equals zero calories. That's basic math." Also, there will be even more whistling on the soundtrack, because the whistling in "Coming Together" almost sounds like a fife. You know who else played the fife? John Wayne, Hulk Hogan, Jack Bauer and something like 38 signatories to the original Declaration of Independence. U-S-A! U-S-A! Feasibility: I've already located footage from a small-town pep rally and 18 gap-toothed scamps of various races and ethnicities. This is so happening.