In January of 2013, Taylor Swift signed on to be the “Brand Ambassador” of the Coca-Cola Bottling Company’s Diet Coke brand—the type of endorsement you see from many big-level country and pop stars. Shortly thereafter the starlet started appearing in ads for the cola, most notably a recent television commercial tied to the marketing slogan “You’re On.” The commercial culminated in a shot of Taylor Swift in her dressing room right before going on stage drinking a Diet Coke. But unfortunately for both Taylor Swift and Diet Coke, when they tried to translate their “You’re On” slogan to the print world, many people began to draw parallels between Coke, and the cola’s cocaine-laced past.
As can be seen in the billboard below, when the slogan is spelled out, and proceeded by “Coke” there can be some underlying connotations that don’t conform to either Taylor Swift, or Diet Coke’s squeaky clean reputation. Add on top of that Diet Coke using energy drink-like verbiage around the ad campaign, saying things such as “how go-getters get going,” and “When it’s time to be on,” and “Whether you’re the best man about to give a speech at your friend’s wedding or Taylor Swift about to go onstage in front of millions, the refreshment of Diet Coke keeps you on,” and the campaign became ripe for parody, and that’s exactly what happened.
Stealing on the opportunity to exploit the “You’re on Coke” wordplay, parody artists started making mock print ads of the Diet Coke campaign, and even a parody commercial of Taylor Swift’s “Diet Coke” dressing room scene (see below).
Now, according to the New York Times, the “You’re On” ad campaign has received so much flack, it is being pulled and replaced by a “Just for the taste of it” alternative—the same ad slogan that helped launch the Diet Coke brand in 1983.
Diet Coke’s “You’re On” Taylor Swift campaign was meant to stem the tide of consumers, especially young consumers, abandoning soft drinks for healthier alternatives, energy drinks, coffee, and other beverages. The ads certainly seemed to get folks’ attention … their very rapt, dedication, and focused attention.