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Anorexic Puppets on a String

May 22, 2010

Everytime I see Coca Cola’s new commercial for their Diet Coke I ask myself whether it is supposed to be a parody of itself. Did the producers of the spot ever think of the image they give about women here? Maybe they thought, showing a group of in vogue career women dancing to Flashdance’s song Maniac would be cool. Well, so far I would agree maybe. But instead of real women they used puppets on a string. Okay, nothing wrong with that so far as well. But, these puppets’ heads are exaggeratedly big and have very thin bodies which look even thinner due to their big heads. I guess they are supposed to be cute, but to me they are ugly because they look like they’re anorexic. The fact, that they’re moved by strings ironically stresses this impression: They are so thin they cannot even move without the help of strings. Did the spot’s producers think of this possible image at all?

When I looked up the German version of the commercial on YouTube I found many comments that share my opinion about these anorexic puppets. There are only a few who find them cute, but when I also had a look on the English version the comments’ tone changed completely! I was surprised to find, that most comments are positive about the puppets and there is hardly any critical voice. So the spot seems to be successful here and Coca Cola obviously had no doubt, that the same commercial will work in other countries, too. How interesting, that they were wrong.

But now I wonder about the reasons for this very different reception. Do the targets of the English version only like the puppets without thinking about the image they convey? Or are they so used to the image of anorexic career women as the ideal? What do you think?

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