Coke’s ‘Keep It Going’ Ad Makes The Abstract A Little Too Real

09-coke-keep-it-goingCoke has been airing a commercial recently as part of its new ‘Keep It Going’ ad campaign.  The idea behind the ad is that when you are finished drinking a fine coke product and place the empty container into a recycle bin that someone else will then get to enjoy another fine coke product based on your recycling efforts. 

Now… I will be the first to admit that I am a big fan of coke.  Not only the product but also the brand.  Coke is one of the greats.  It has always had a sharp focus on its identity and had smart minds behind it.  That’s why I find this ad a bit odd.  And disturbing too come to think of it.

In the ad the direct connection is made from someone finished with their coke and placing it into a recycle bin to someone picking up a fresh coke to open and drink it.  Now I am totaly behind this idea of recycling in theory.  We humans use so much plastic packaging that the more that finds its way into recycling the better.  But what’s disturbing about this commercial is that a shortcut is made visually between the used bottle and the new bottle, removing any sense of intervention along the way. 

So direct is the connection between ‘drank’ and ‘ready to drink again’ that one shot shows a kid pushing an empty bottle half-way into a recycle bin opening.  The next shot shows a woman at a Coke machine with a bottle emerging halfway into the retrieval opening.  Cut back to the boy giving the empty one last push into the recycle bin and then return to the woman at the Coke machine as the bottle falls free.  Uh… what was that about?  Is the backside of this Coke machine a recycling bin?  Was the boy just pushing his used bottle through and the woman picking up a dirty (but refilled) bottle on the other side?  Has Coke streamlined their production process that much?  Hmmm… kinda gross to me.

When I am drinking a Coke I am hoping for a couple things.  First, I am hoping that it, or someone affiliated with Coke, will teach me to sing in perfect harmony.  Second, I hope that the bottle or can I am using has been made from recycled material.  Finally, I am hoping that the recycling process the container has gone through involved some sort of very intense melting, cleansing, purifying and reforming.  As much distance between my mouth and the other mouths that have come in contact with this bit of packaging as possible.

I understand the message Coke is trying to get acros here.  And I am going to assume that Coke is still talking about ‘recycling’ here and hasn’t changed their policy to simply that of ‘reuse’.  But in the rush to get a ‘green’ message out to the Copenhagen rioting masses, Coke maybe missed the potential of this unintended message.  We are all behind Coke in their efforts to utilize recycled packaging materials.  But I would rather have a Coke and a smile than have a Coke and a communicable disease.  Hopefully Coke will think of a new way to tell their ‘recycling’ story.