Why This Ad Worked: Diet Coke

April 5, 2018 by Emma Bond

“Life is short, have a diet coke.” It’s the one commercial we can’t get out of our heads and, within weeks of it airing, we at Lumi found ourselves randomly buying these colorfully packaged and flavored Diet Cokes off the shelves. It left us wondering, what exactly was it about this “Because I Can” ad series that inspired action and made us want to buy every single newly released diet coke flavor?

Slim packaging

This ad was the first time that we were introduced to Diet Coke’s newly released packaging. The first scene showcases Diet Coke’s new sleek, simple, and slim 12oz. cans; perfectly arranged behind the glass of a convenience store fridge.

Each color pops through the glass, leaving you and your imagination wondering what each one of these new flavors is, and more so, what they taste like.


Diet Coke’s careless attitude

Everyone has heard claims about Diet Coke; how it’s just as unhealthy, if not more unhealthy, than regular coke. This ad effortlessly accepts these claims, and instead of shoving health-related facts down your throat, like “contains zero calories” and “sugar-free,” they instead encourage you to just have a Diet Coke, “because you can.”

Because life is short, and if you want to have a Diet Coke, have it. Sounds convincing enough, right?

And when we bought and drank our ginger lime-flavored Diet Coke, we felt less guilty than usual. And, with it, a little bit more rebellious and carefree.

Taylor Swift and Kendall Jenner free

In the past, Coke has filled their ads with major celebrities (remember that Kendall Jenner ad that Coke deleted shortly after airing?). But, this time around, Coke features a more “underground” actress: Gillian Jacobs from the newly popular Netflix show, Love.

Gillian makes for the perfect spokeswomen because for anyone who has seen the show, her character is a rebellious, trendy, and edgy Millennial. From her trendy vintage-chic outfit to the effortless way she rolls her eyes when she speaks, her carefree “do you” attitude shines through.
By choosing to opt away from big-time celebrities who were paid to pretend to drink this beverage, Diet Coke stripped away all the bullsh*t and seems to be just “keeping it real.”



Just do you

“It’s delicious. It makes me feel good. Life is short. If you want to live in a yurt, yurt it up. If you want to run in a marathon, I mean, that sounds super hard, but OK. I mean, just do you…”

Going back to the theme of carefree, this “just do you” theme hits the spot with Millennials.

Lately, it seems like all of our friends and family are posting every healthy meal they’ve ever eaten all over instagram, snapchat, facebook; you name it. And for those of us who aren’t doing this same thing, we start to feel guilty about not being as health and eco-conscious as our peers.

And through the message and tone of this ad, all of the sudden, this brand make you feel less guilty about not being a super flexible yogi or hardcore Crossfit athlete with a perfect diet.

Instead, just have a Diet Coke…. because the idea that “life is short” is really the one thing that binds us all.