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Coca-Cola Advertisement: An Annotated Visual Analysis

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Kaitlin Pavsner

on 27 January 2016

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Transcript of Coca-Cola Advertisement: An Annotated Visual Analysis

The drink Coca-Cola, commonly referred to as Coke, is a carbonated soft drink produced by the Coca-Cola Company. Created in the late 19th century as a medicine, Coke is now a world renowned brand of soda. Coca-Cola has had a long advertising history with a slew of spokespeople and slogans, yet despite the changes Coke manages to remain a classic, especially in America where it originated.
Throughout the years Coca-Cola has retained its classic reputation with its kitsch advertising. Kitsch is traditionally defined as "[a]rt or literature judged to have little or no aesthetic value, yet that has value precisely because of its status in evoking the class standards of bad taste." (446) In the context of this particular advertisement kitsch refers "...to cultural objects and images that interpellate viewers in easy codes of sentimentalism." (446)
The framing of this advertisement draws the viewers eye first to the brand name, Coca-Cola, then to the "bottle," and lastly to the text at the bottom. All the viewer sees of the usual bottle is the neck and cap. The shape of the bottle is outlined or framed by the image compilation and these images, in turn, frame the brand name and the word "classic." By doing so, Coke is associated with the word classic and the images used to create the bottle. In a sense, Coca-Cola is claiming that their drink represents those images and embodies the sentiment that those images evoke in viewers.
This advertisement is quite plan when color is considered. The only colors that are featured are black, white, and red. These colors are consistent with other advertisements produced by Coca-Cola, keeping with their tradition of simplicity and nostalgic feel. All of the images within the compilation are in various hues of red, which does not hinder the viewers recognition of them. Also, red is a vibrant color that catches peoples' eye, especially when the background is all white with nothing else to distract the viewer.
There are two groups of text, Coca-Cola paired with the word "classic," and the sentence, "A classic never goes out of style." The brand name is incorporated into the image of the bottle, acting as a label by cutting through the images and being surrounded by white space. The sentence under the bottle acts as a slogan, further emphasizing the concept of classiness and being stylish. It is not out of place in the advertisement as a whole because the typography used is the same as the brand name.
There are many images used to create the glass bottle including Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, The Beatles, a baseball and bat, an apple pie, the American flag, etc. Coca-Cola deliberately chose these images for their ethos and pathos; they believe that these celebrities and objects accurately represent the American ideal and they are including themselves with these icons.
Multiple Readings
While Coca-Cola intended the images to be perceived as positive, maybe even patriotic, viewers may not read the advertisement in a dominant-hegemonic way and can instead take an oppostitional reading. An oppostitional viewer could disagree with the "icons" chosen. They could claim that the sport of baseball is tainted by drug abuse, Marilyn left a questionable legacy, Elvis is suspected of committing suicide, and The Beatles are British not American.
Reading and Analyzing Photographs

Sturken, Marita, and Lisa Cartwright. Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. Print.

Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 27 Jan. 2016.

The Nature of the Image
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