Commenter DonMiller (who I'm assuming is this fine gentlemen), made the following comment about my statement:
"...why in the world would you chose one drink over another for any other reason than taste. this is fascinating to me, [not] because you do it but because we are all pawns to the association/disassociation phenomenon that advertisers play upon."And I think it's fascinating, too, primarily because I like to pretend I'm unique and advertising doesn't affect me. But, of course, it does.
First of all, I overstated a bit. I do like Coca-Cola more based on taste. It's a little less syrupy in my mind. But I've also noticed the vessel matters...I can't stand pop in plastic bottles, Coke tastes best in cans, RC is really good out of a fountain, etc.
But to explore choosing products based on marketing, let's compare two fast food companies: Sonic and McDonald's.
In McDonald's ads, cool faux-urbanites breakdance around, nibbling on cheeseburgers and generally enjoying each other's company. They wear fedoras, a hat usually reserved for the manic, skinny guy in high school movies set in the 90's. They get married with cakes fashioned from McNuggets. They bother me. A lot.
Sonic ads, on the other hand, feature a series of improv comics acting as regular people, having a discussion at the Sonic drive-in. They're witty, sure, but they also convey the unique Sonic experience: a drive-in burger stand with a diverse menu where you can eat with your friends.
Since many of the finest creative minds in America are toiling away at ad agencies, ads can be viewed as an art medium. The canvas is a 30-second video, wherein the artist must convey a certain message, appeal to a potential customer and entertain the viewer.
When I watch the Nuggnuts spots, I want to punish McDonald's for making bad art, for appealing to a dumbed-down, fake version of young adulthood. No one is actually making wedding cakes out of McNuggets, and if they are, they should be institutionalized. So not only is McDonald's lying to me, they're also assuming I'm stupid enough to believe these sorts of people exist, and are downing Big Macs by the truckload.
When I watch a Sonic commercial, I laugh. I want to reward Sonic for appealing to community and good comedy, for stripping down their production and letting real people make the pitch.
Of course, both McDonald's and Sonic are publicly-traded corporations, only concerned with the bottom line. Both sell products exceedingly bad for you. In fact, since Sonic heavily promotes it's desserts and syupy drink combinations, it's probably less healthy overall.
Sonic's ads are intended to appeal to a specific marketing demographic, likely the same demographic lampooned by Christian Lander's Stuff White People Like.
It's frightening to discover you've become the target audience, that companies are going after your money and not 10 year-old girl or 20 year-old body builder. But at the same time, doesn't better, smarter advertising reflect a more thoughtful populace? Watching The Wire and raving about international cuisine may be painfully cliche, but aren't these pursuits more laudable than watching Rock of Love and guzzling Monster energy drinks?
Let's go back to those two ads during the Super Bowl, one for Pepsi and one for Coke:
One espouses innovation, a natural world where various species work together in harmony to obtain an end goal (in this case, delicious cola). The other draws a parallel between the greatest songwriter of the last 50 years and a guy who "wrote 'My Humps' in 5 minutes when he saw a pretty lady when he was having something to eat." If you're voting with your dollars, which ideology would you support?
Of course, I'm 100% positive we should fall outside this simple choice of paradigms, each a lie since both are sugary, carbonated drinks. But we're in this world already. Why not pick a side? Right?