Thursday, September 06, 2007

Deconstructing tube ads - 1: Coke

I'm bemused* by a poster at Baker Street, on the southbound Bakerloo. It shows a variety of cartoonish images with a sort of 1960s pop music theme. On one side the silhouette of a male, the other a female. They are surrounded by some cliches of musicians (saxophonist bending double, someone swinging a microphone), images of LPs (Long Playing records: Ed) and cassettes, including a "Dansette" type record player (I had one in 1964), a cassette with the word "Love" handwritten on its label, lots of stars and explosions and clutter, and the odd coke bottle. And surrounding the whole charming scene, two sets of audio leads, one male one female, about to be joined together. I don't know how much more suggestive an ad can be. But trying to understand its underlying message is really tough.

You see, all the clobber depicted is old. It was ok stuff when I was young. It has no meaning at all today except as an exercise in nostalgia. So are Coca-Cola trying to reach my generation in order to market their ghastly oversweet rubbish? Hardly. Consider again the meaning of the two about-to-copulate sound leads. Presumably the subliminal message is "Drink this crap and you'll score". But that would aim this ad at young, and fairly dumb, people, who would hardly relate to the rest of the images.

Anyway, I've stared at this ad for a number of days, whilst waiting for a train; as the Bakerloo is such a good service I have never had more than a minute or so. My studies are by no means complete. I think there may be a quite different layer of meaning waiting to be unearthed. Though whether it is "Your parents drank coke so why don't you?" or "Coke, it tastes as bad as the noises depicted", I am not sure.

* This should now read "I was bemused" because the ad is no longer there, having been pasted over by something so ludicrous I may have to comment on it in a new posting

No comments:

Post a Comment