Original Ad: The advertisement I have chosen to address for this culture jam assignment is a Coca-Cola Ad. The Ad shows a smiling young women holding a Coke with the slogans “have a coke and a smile” above the top of the image, and “coke adds life” below the image. There are two problems with this ad that I will be addressing with my jamming. The first problem is that the ad is equating Coca-Cola with happiness, as well as subliminally associating the brand with health. The youthful smiling model, as well as the slogan “coke adds life” attempts to create a positive association between a “healthy happy life style” and Coca-Cola. This is extremely ironic because Coca-Cola is actually extremely unhealthy. The slogans and the smiling model brings our focus to the teeth, which are bright and white. The irony here is that Coca-Cola actually damages our teeth. Coke not only stains teeth but can also lead to the erosion and decay of them. The second problem is that the ad promotes the growing culture of consumerism. The ad’s attempt to create a connection between Coca-Cola and a “healthy happy life style” encourages the consumer to incorporate the product into their daily life. Thus, creating a consumer that repeatedly purchases the product, turning them into a regular household name brand. In turn this drives profits for the corporation and promotes profit based tendencies in society. The concern is that there is a lack of consideration about the negative impact of a product when there is a large accumulation of profit. This speaks to the consumer driven nature of society, to which this ad contributes. It promotes a false image of the product that encourages consumer consumption.
Jammed Ad: For this culture jamming assignment I chose a Coca-Cola Ad. Within the original ad there were three sections that I altered to highlight its absurdity. The first section that I altered was the slogan “have a coke and a smile” specifically the word “smile”. I removed the word smile and replaced it with the word assimilate. I did this to draw attention to the consumer driven nature of society. Advertisements such as these entice consumer consumption and drive profit, normalizing the product as a household “necessity”. The corporation’s advertisements have obviously been successful, as Coke has become such a popular beverage that some people drink it as regularly as they drink water. Therefore, by replacing the word smile with assimilate it attempts to reveal how conforming to consumerism is projected onto us by society. The second section that I altered was the models teeth. I altered the colour of the teeth from white to a yellowish brown colour to make them appear stained. I did this to highlight the reality of consuming Coca-Cola. As coke is extremely unhealthy and notoriously known for damaging and staining teeth. The reality is that those who regularly consume Coca-Cola are likely to have damaged teeth, from the beverage. The original ad attempts to avoid this negative association, but by altering the colour of the teeth it highlights the actual effects of drinking Coca-Cola. The third section that I altered was the slogan “coke adds life”. I crossed out the word “adds” and replaced it with “ends”. Crossing-out “adds” jams the original message that Coca-Cola offers something beneficial to ones life. Instead by changing the slogan to “coke ends life” the message shifts. Now it directly implies that consuming Coca-Cola has unfavourable effects on ones life. The alterations made to the original ad attempt subvert the association between health, happiness and Coca-Cola. Instead they attempt to divert ones attention to the negative ramifications both health and consumerism based, that come from consuming Coca-Cola.
Image Citation: Have a Coke and a Smile. [Digital Image]. Retrieved from https://www.dirjournal.com/blogs/the-visual-tour-into-coca-cola-print-advertising/.