Thursday, October 4, 2012


Apparent in all the time-pieced ads of Coca-Cola is the effort to reach various populations—women, athletes, business men, adventurers, etc. This all-encompassing reach was also seen when the movie, Clueless, was released in 1995. The product placement of Diet Coke in this movie is subtle, yet meaningful in helping the Coca-Cola company keep its wide range of consumers. Not only does the ad placement help Coca-Cola, but it helps the movie’s logos and ethos. In Clueless, Diet Coke placement helps to reign in more consumer groups and add quality to the movie by targeting three specific population groups—young girls, adult women, and boys.
The movie taking place in Beverly Hills creates a high-class and hip vibe. The rating for the movie being PG-13 excluded girls younger than 13 from the audience, unless they were rebellious or received approval from their parents. Therefore, girls from 13 years old to college-ages, were influenced by the movie if they saw it. They may want to mimic Cher so they can be popular, pretty, thin and appear rich like her. If so, this would mean drinking a Diet Coke at lunch, like the movie displays. Cher also is depicted as a fashion queen and her choices are always thought-out. Cher’s choice for Diet Coke in the movie demonstrates that this beverage is the most valuable brand and classiest of all liquid refreshments. Cher is not the only one endorsing Diet Coke in the movie. Beverly Hill’s spunky new girl, Tai, expresses deep revere for Coke. Her rebellious and different character sends the message that colorful personalities will love it too. In fact, the first scene with Tai involves a conversation about Coke:
Tai: I could really use some sort of herbal refreshment.
Dionne: Oh, well we do lunch in ten minutes. We don't have any tea, but we have Coke and stuff.
Tai: No shit. You guys got Coke here?
Dionne: Well, yeah.
Cher: Yeah, this is America. (Clueless Film)
Aligning America with Coca-Cola is appropriate advertisement because Coca-Cola has always marketed toward being the all-American drink. This is evident through ads with Santa Claus, strong women, business men, families, leisure activities and such. It is also interesting that Coke placement follows the word “refreshment” since that has always been a key word in Coca-Cola advertising. Tai being impressed that their school has Coke also hints that the drink is synonymous with high-class people and facilities. The next scene has Tai in the cafeteria with three Cokes on her tray, emphasizing how revered the drink is to her. After watching the movie, maybe viewers who see a Coke will think, I got to grab as many as I can because they are such a hot commodity. Also, through the star power of Brittany Murphy and other well-known actors and actresses, Coke gains celebrity faces to endorse their product. Fans of any of these actors may be more inclined to pick up a Coke because they think of the star’s face.
            Secondary to the young girls who watch the film are the older women. Ironically in society, young girls want to be older and older women want to be younger. Therefore, Cher’s use of Diet Coke targets older women who maybe want to look young, hip, slim, and pretty. How many women have been on a diet, even for just a short while? The answer is many. Diet Coke obviously targets dieting women. Cher is portrayed to be on a diet in the movie, as evidenced by counting her food intake. Cher is also thin and tall, and she nods to Cindy Crawford who produced a famous work out video. These factors pull in the interest of people watching their figure. The movie is sending the message that Diet Coke is the drink of choice for slimming down because the slim characters drink it in the movie. This is just a continued effort to target women, which Coca-Cola has always done. Looking through ads on Coca-Cola, pictures of thin and beautiful women dominate the ads (Vintage Ad At a time of so many different diets, Coca-Cola welcomed dieters to trust their slimming and refreshing drink.
            The third target in the movie is boys. There is a scene in the movie of Dionne’s boyfriend chilling on a lunch table with a Diet Coke in hand, stealing a kiss from his popular and beautiful girlfriend. This sends the message that Diet Coke is not just for girls or people on diets, but for guys too. Dionne’s boyfriend is portrayed in the movie as cool, confident, and powerful; yet gentle and loved by his woman. Tactfully placing a coke in his hand sends the message to boys that if they have a Diet Coke in their hand, they can be cool and liked by the ladies. Some may say that diet drink a guy’s hand is unbelievable and possibly detracting from the movie’s logos and reveals a stretch in Coca-Cola’s advertising. However, the benefits outweigh this claim. The genre being chick-flick eliminates many male viewers; but this does not mean males are free from influence. If moms, girlfriends, and sisters are supporting Diet Coke, these women will encourage guys to join in because they have seen cool guys drink it too, but his may be a stretch.
The placement of Coke does not only benefit the company; the product benefits the movie by putting relatable products into the movie instead of blank bottles that are obvious disguises to the real deal. In an article about product placement, Martin J. Smith states that “brand-name products and logos realistically reflect the landscape of everyday American life” (2). He goes on to say, “A generic can labeled ‘BEER’ is more jarring to a viewer than a recognizable label” (2). This means Clueless is more believable (logos) for having the Coca-Cola-branded drinks. In addition, using Coca-Cola products puts Clueless into the category of big-budget films instead of low-budget movies, adding to credibility (pathos). The movie quality jumps higher just by including this American-known product. The movie also gets a plus from coining a particular drink for its movie. This means next time the public sees a Coca-Cola, they will think of their favorite character from the movie drinking Diet Coke, and be reminded of Clueless. In a book entitled Everything’s an Argument, the point is made that we do things “because we fall in love with some small detail” (Lunsford and Ruszkiewicz 38 & 39). The details from the movie enhance Coke drinks and the detail of Diet Coke enhances the movie. This is a mutual advantage to both the movie and Coca-Cola.
            The product placement of Coca-Cola in Clueless is significant in promoting consumers from girls, adult women, and males. Young girls who desire popularity and beauty are convinced Diet Coke is the trend in popular and pretty girls. Adult women who want thin, young-looking bodies can incorporate Diet Coke into their regimen and not put on weight. Also, macho-male types should not disregard Diet Coke because cool guys do drink it in the film. The product also creates believability through real products and classifies the film as a big-budget movie because there was money to pay Coca-Cola for product placement. Altogether, both the movie and Coca-Cola company benefitted from product placement. The legacy of Coca-Cola being “delicious and refreshing” lives on, and Clueless makes its mark in the public (Vintage Ad We can drink a Diet Coke and be refreshed, but keep our figure and social standing intact.
Rating is 3/5.

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