If there is one thing that advertisers understand, it’s a target market. Coca-Cola have a history of promoting their 100 billion dollar brand as a reflection of the ideal utilitarian society. This advertisement seems significant, as it represents people as being immersed in virtual games and worlds, representing themselves though digital identity. More than that, they are placing ‘toons’ among the natural, not imagined environment. If we think back to the 1980s, we generally saw humans being sucked into computer-created worlds such as Tron(SP).
“Advertising involves a commercially viable language of appearances and images in which commodity relations systematically penetrate and organize cultural meaning.” (Jena, 2000)
Brand ads don’t directly sell a tasty beverage, Coke is in fact socially aligning itself with a culture immersed in games and virtual worlds – that can be accessed though mobile technologies.
Rather than suggest visions of the ideal-body and lifestyle that they are famous for, this advert clearly suggests that with technology, we not only imagine our other self, but can easily become it socially. We are not suggesting here that fictional characters have the character traits of famous singers, and that by drinking fizzy water we are some way like them (and in turn the superhero). This ad has a total absence of this … saying that we are, whatever we imagine ourselves to be (but we still drink Coke).
Advertising and popular culture are entwined – and when the world’s largest brand suggests that avatars and toons are fun and socially desirable, to me, it marks a significantly step away from the idea that gamers and virtual world residents -are a marginalised, isolated and socially-disconnected group. That is a cultural shift … maybe games are now a social norm.