What the #@!*$#% Was Coke Thinking?

In Advertising, Design, Madison Avenue, Ramblings on April 7, 2014 at 9:17 am

Coke billboard

I haven’t written in a long time. But I had to write about this. I hate the new Diet Coke campaign. I’ve been walking past the same bus kiosk for weeks now and I keep looking at the campaign is disbelief.

You’re on Coke.

Really? The great American icon Coca-Cola is running a campaign with the tagline ‘You’re on Coke.’ At this moment, I feel like my father ‘I remember the good old days when Coca-Cola stood for something good in the world.’

I work in advertising. I’m familiar with the thought of getting attention. But I think this crosses the line of taste. This also seems like a bad fit for the brand. I’m a huge fan of the work done by Droga5. Not this. I don’t like this. The fact that virtually every parody online is a drug reference only makes the point – Coca-Cola Company thinks the only way to perform at your best is to be coked up.

Coca-Cola’s response? “This advertising is one part of the new campaign for Diet Coke, which is called ‘You’re On.’ It celebrates ambitious young achievers from all walks of life and reminds them that Diet Coke is there to support them in the moments when they are at their best. Diet Coke in no way endorses or supports the use of any illegal substance.”

No – that’s not what the campaign says. It doesn’t say we’re there for you when you’re at your best. It says to be at your best you need coke. The brand has become a punch line.

It’s Monday. It’s still too cold in New York. And I’m not feeling like I’m at my best. Maybe I need a Pepsi.

I start teaching again this week at FIT

In Advertising, Education on January 27, 2014 at 5:57 pm

Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 5.54.08 PM

This year will be different.

I will not curse within the first 5 minutes. I will not make sarcastic comments when someone says something that makes no sense at all. I won’t lock the door at 6:30 so late arrivals can’t get in the classroom. I won’t tell anyone they’re completely full of @#$#.

That’s what I keep telling myself. I will behave. I will be kinder and gentler. Unfortunately, I know the truth. This year won’t be any different. Someone will say something and I’ll jump on it. Someone will show up late for the first day of class and I will pick on them immediately to answer a question. Someone will spend the entire class looking at their laptop and I will call on them when I know they have no idea what we’ve been talking about.

But this year will be different.

This year the students will come prepared. They’ll be passionate, hard working and dedicated. They’ll want to improve and get great jobs in advertising. They’ll want to explore their own creativity. They will want to stand out. They will not give up. They won’t care that they have to work hard. Just like some of the best students from years past.

This will be my third year teaching ‘Senior Portfolio Design’ at FIT. And I’ve had some amazing students. Of the 28 students I’ve taught, 6 currently work at my agency. Ryan, Liz, Jenny, Candice from 2012. Olivia and Priscilla from 2013. All have amazing potential. All can be stars. There are several others I’ve tried to hire but lost to other agencies.

This year will be different.

This year I’ve completely changed the way I’m teaching this class. This class will be as individualized as humanly possible. Each student will be treated differently since they will all have different strengths and weaknesses. This year each will reach their maximum potential. Everyone will get an A.

Thursday is the first class. I’ll let you know how I made out. I may also ask one of my students to guess blog on this site – so you can hear their point of view.

Now that would be really different.

Stay tuned….



Be careful what you wish for.

In Ramblings on December 18, 2013 at 12:22 pm

A few nights ago, I had the strangest dream. I remember so much about it. Every detail. The people. The numbers. The decisions I had to make. And when I woke in the morning, I couldn’t stop thinking about it – as if it really happened. Did I make the correct decision? What would I really do if given the choice? Why did I make that choice?  I kept telling myself ‘it was just a dream’ but I still couldn’t shake the feeling.  Here’s the dream.

I’m asleep in my bed when a god-like figure comes to me and wakes me out of a sound sleep. “I’m here to grant you a dream,” it said. “But you can only chose one, and you can’t change your mind.” I answered, “I have so many dreams, things I’d love to do, people I’d like to see again.”  The voice answered, “I have chosen your dreams for you.”

“Here is the first dream. In January of 2014, you will win the lottery. The prize will be $883 million dollars. People all over the country will know your name. You will have financial security for the rest of your life. With the money, you can make any dream you’d like come true. You can help the poor. Be a patron of the arts. Start your own business. Some of these are also dreams of yours, but you haven’t had the financial means to make them happen. Now you will.”

“And what is the second choice?”

“You’ve always dreamed of being a better athlete – here is your chance. On January 1, 2014 you will be the world’s greatest golfer. You will be able to hit any shot you want at any time. All you have to do is think about where you want to hit the ball and it will land there. People all over the country will know your name. You will have financial security for the rest of your life. With the prize money you will win, you can make any dream you’d like come true. You can help the poor. Be a patron of the arts. Start your own business.”

I asked, “When do I have to make my decision?” The voice came back, “right now.”

I looked around, was this real? Is this a dream?  Then I answered, “I be the golfer. While you will be giving me the tools, I still have to earn it.” And then the figure said “done,” and disappeared.

The rest of my dream was about me playing golf. Hitting the ball exactly where I want to hit it. Winning tournaments. But then something else happened. Golf became less interesting to the public. Because one player (me) was dominating the sport, people stopped watching. The outcome wasn’t suspenseful or interesting. To make it better for the public, I started losing on purpose. Getting close but not winning. I would win enough to keep the reporters away, but I would lose enough to make people watch. People started rooting against me. People wanted me to lose. I stopped playing a full schedule because I couldn’t take people telling me I wasn’t good anymore. I knew I could win every time I played. But I also didn’t want to ruin a game that I loved. So I stopped playing.

And while I had all the financial security I could ever want, I was sad. People all over the country knew my name – but also remembered that I used to be really good. And while I could do anything I wanted, I didn’t want to leave my house. I felt like a prisoner.

And then I woke up.

I remembered so many details. I woke up sweating. I was confused. What just happened? For the next few days I remember thinking about this dream. If it were real, what choice would I have made? If it were real, would I still act the same way? If it were real would I keep my promises to help the poor and be a patron to the arts?

I’ve replayed this dream in my head over and over again. And then yesterday I noticed the lottery jackpot has risen past $500 million. So if it reached $883 million – you know that I will be buying a ticket.

Because I can tell you this – my golf game isn’t getting better any time soon.



Christina Fieni

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