Home > advertising, marketing & advertising, marketing & advertising around the world > Coca-Cola’s Fairlife Milk ads – sexist, sexy, senseless or strategic?

Coca-Cola’s Fairlife Milk ads – sexist, sexy, senseless or strategic?

yes, you read it right – it is “Coca-Cola”. the drink company that we all know for its Coke drink in that familiar red colored bottles launched a brand called Fairlife, a milk product and the advertising campaign they launched it with is calling a lot of attention. the ads are called even by the company as “pin-up girls” and that is a great summation of what the ads are – they are a throwback to the 50’s pin-up girls of the Marilyn Monroe type of pictures and posters US soldiers used to have in their lockers while at war in Europe. for these ads, pin-up means sexy girls showing a lot of flesh, long legs in particular but this time liquid milk is covering the bodies of the pin-up girls.

first time we read about it, the article described the ads a “naked girls covered with milk”. that of course caught our attention but when we saw the ads, we thought the description was too much hyped with imagination, “naked girls” is something that did not come up to our minds. yes of course with the liquid milk as the clothes of the women, it means the girls are naked under the liquid milk. but then again aren’t we all naked under our own clothes?

the over-imagination aside (pun intended), we looked at the ads and asked ourselves several questions:

 

are the ads sexy? no, they are not. sure they show long legs and the women in them have bodies that will allow them to join beauty contests but sexy is not what we see in the ads. it did not inspire us to think sex when we saw the ads. what we saw were good looking women in the ads. not seeing sexy or sex in the ads may be a function of the proliferation of images in media and the internet that are far more sexual and body baring than these ones. heck, we recently saw the magazine cover of Kim Kardashian in full nude. compare these images to that and these are not at all sexy. it also helps that the over-all concept of the ads is the 50’s pin-up girls. it did not make me think of my grandmother but there is a certain playfulness and innocence when you think of the 50’s now that it is 2014.

are the ads senseless? no it’s not. it does make a good argument for being sensible as an ad. what it is doing is equating health with looking good. health to many of us humans is invisible and we need a lot of help to visualize health. doctors and science give us a picture of “healthy” through lab tests and numbers that show how much cholesterol we have in our body. but after a few seconds of seeing those numbers, we quickly forget how healthy looks like. seeing abs, muscles and in this case well proportioned bodies and long legs are excellent visualizations of “healthy”. they are memorable images that we usually keep in our minds as our goal in life and as we age.

are the ads strategic? yes, we think it is. the choices of the elements in the ads – liquid milk, nice looking bodies, women and health do have a certain strategic flair to them. this is the first time we are being asked to look at milk and what it does to our health in this way. what we are used to are children, cows and nature. the imagery is very eloquent.

are the ads sexist? first, the word “sexist” is one that can be very confusing to many. perhaps because it is a word that has been used as a weapon too many times and that it carries so much emotions that the real meaning of it has been hidden from many of us. if your target audience is women, it is not sexist at all. milk is a health drink and it is most useful for women for its calcium content and its importance to women. it can’t be sexist if women are the brand’s primary target market and target audience.

in essence this is what we are saying – we all got to chill! and yes, we do like the ads.

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