Sunday, June 25, 2006


All Your Revolutions Are Belong To Us

For at least a decade or so, I've been fairly freaked out by Sprite commercials. And arguably, by lemon lime soft drink commercials in general. More than any other product, it seems lemon lime soft drinks want you to believe that using their product will transform you into a bold, radical individual who will overthrow the shackles of our Machine Overlords and bring liberty to the grubby masses. The appropriation of counterculture by corporations is nothing new of course, and there are excellent book length examinations of the phenomenon such as Thomas Frank's One Market Under God but it's still a fascinating topic.

But Sprite's the true master of this sort of thing, all of Mountain Dew's "extreme" stuff has always been at best a flattering imitation. Really, has there ever been a scarier slogan than "Obey your thirst"? (Subtext: Obey US)

It's a slogan that asks us to embrace our rapacious primal appetites, and to cast reason and civilized behavior aside. It encourages us to become unthinking animals and mockingly flatters our cerebra into believing that this constitutes being an "individual". It is the celebration of the mindless, the repudiation of refinement. It is the first step to totalitarianism.

But in the murky world of the corporation co-opted counterculture (You know what I'm saying is true because of my expert use of alliteration) there are no meaningful distinctions between anything. Rebellion is tyranny. Freedom is slavery and all the rest of Big Brother's Greatest Hits...

But the ads have gotten crazy scarier over the years, and what's more, they make no attempt to hide it, they revel in their crazy-scariness and they laugh at you for being scared...I just watched one of their new "Sublymonal" spots.


They're not even bothering to romanticize the struggle against tyranny anymore, they are openly romanticising tyranny! They openly tell you about the subliminal content and ask you to look for it and they flash the word "Obey" at the end of the ad! I am increasingly terrified of my television...

I always find these lemon-lime drink commercials useless simply because I associate clear pop with nausea. As in, I drink Sprite to ease my hangover belly, not my thirst. They really ought to look into that marketing angle.
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