Diet Coke: A history through ads

Following the news that Diet Coke has settled on a fashion-led positioning, Marketing Week looks back at a selection of the brand’s ads. A history that covers a myriad of themes from the “objectification” of men to the liberating actions of a sassy white soul singer.

The brand has come a long way from its very first ad in 1983. A drink that is now squarely aimed at women was introduced to the world with an ad starring Bob Hope.

The “Just for the taste of it” strap underpinned this 80s spot that featured a seemingly random selection of images – a punch drunk “Marvellous” Marvin Hagler, a rotund man vacillating over appropriate weather wear and a glamorous woman dancing by a funeral pyre.

Here it and he is. The iconic Diet Coke hunk that repositioned the brand as something for the ladies.

More than a decade later, he was back, albeit a metrosexual hunk that moisturises, which isn’t quite the same.

By 2009, the hunk was out and impish Welsh songstress Duffy was chosen to represent empowered, sassy women everywhere, or so it was hoped. So empowered, she failed to comply with cycling best practice and wear a helmet.

2010 and blue-eyed soul singers are out and Flashdance loving puppets that work in fashion houses are in.

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