A New York version of the ad.

A New York version of the ad.

San Francisco ads with cringe-y techster-targeted text.

San Francisco ads with cringe-y techster-targeted text.

San Francisco ads with cringe-y techster-targeted text.

San Francisco ads with cringe-y techster-targeted text.

San Francisco ads with cringe-y techster-targeted text.

San Francisco ads with cringe-y techster-targeted text.

Other executions that flip the name and the slogan don't have the same double-take factor.

Other executions that flip the name and the slogan don't have the same double-take factor.

Co.Create

Diet Coke "You're On" Campaign Gets Attention For The Wrong, Drug-Related Reasons

New tagline is mocked for being an overt drug reference.

The newest ad campaign for Diet Coke is turning heads but for reasons the brand would probably like to avoid. Launched in February under the tagline "You're On," with a spot starring Taylor Swift, it's the outdoor ads that are raising eyebrows.

The positioning of the tagline above the logo appears to some to be a not-so-subtle reference to cocaine use. Get it? You're on coke. The more wholesome interpretation, as seen in the Swift ad, applies the phrase's showbiz meaning to everyday life. Of course a bunch of people getting their soda fix right before high-pressure or important moments doesn't exactly dispel the drug vibe.

While questionable whether the brand or its agency Droga5 intended the ads to wink-wink-nudge-nudge, it wouldn't be the first time an ad for a major brand had unintentional connotations. Hitler teapot, anyone?

The brand replied to our questions about the ads with a statement: "This advertising is one part of the new campaign for Diet Coke, which is called 'You’re On.' It celebrates ambitious young achievers from all walks of life and reminds them that Diet Coke is there to support them in the moments when they are at their best. Every single day, young people around the world experience 'You’re On' moments big and small. It could be a job interview or a national TV interview, a first date or a final exam, a presentation to your boss or a performance in front of thousands. The Diet Coke logo is the centerpiece of the ad campaign. Diet Coke in no way endorses or supports the use of any illegal substance."

They're probably wondering why no one is asking Miller High Life any questions.

Add New Comment

9 Comments

  • Robert Baldwin

    With a little investigating, which the author of this despicable piece of garbage could have done himself, I discovered that the ad agency is named after one of it's founders, David Droga. This is just another way to attack Taylor and attempt to discredit her.

  • George Smithson

    To Jeff: I'll suggest that you don't know the folks at KO very well. There's no way they would ever purposefully do a wink-wink advertisement to anything illegal... ever.

  • What is the reason that Americans find it necessary to scrutinize every ad for anything that might possibly be controversial ? I see a few interesting aspects in this behaviour. 1. Selffulfilling prophecies. The people who do the scrutinizing actually create the controversy, not the brands. 2. Virtual controversy. Widespread, blind and automated sharing of social media mentions make it appear as if there is a controversy. But in the real world, there is none. 3. Projection. Do people realize that they think about cocaine because that association exists in their own heads ?

  • Tracy Stuckrath

    So, I'm glad that I am not the only one who raised my eyebrows about these Diet Coke billboard ads on Atlanta's downtown connector. The reference to cocaine was the first thing I thought followed by what agency got that approved.