Truckers Cry Foul

Ad Age: Coke may think the monster truck-cum-pied piper in its Full Throttle spot plays the hero, but America’s truckers are calling it reckless and have begun a letter-writing campaign to Coke demanding the ad be changed or dropped.
The spot was created by Mother/New York.
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“Every year somebody in Madison Avenue gets lazy and does the old scary truck cliche. This year it was Coca-Cola,” said Mike Russell, VP-public affairs for the American Trucking Association. He cited a blaring air horn, a rearview mirror filled with a Peterbilt grill, a larger truck tailgating and forcing a smaller truck — adorned with rival Red Bull — off the main road and a driver yelling “Yahoo!” as the truck drives by.
“It’s taking every negative stereotype about the trucking industry and using it to sell a product,” continued Mr. Russell. “It totally ignores the trucking industry and the 3 million drivers who do their job safely every day. It’s the same as putting billboards on the sides of our truck and saying ‘Coke makes you ill. Drink Pepsi.’”
Since truckers have helped make energy drinks the hottest segment of the non-alcoholic beverage industry, the pushback is serious. Mr. Russell said he contacted Coke last week about the spot but got a “lukewarm” response as Coke claimed the truck was a hero and a pied piper.
“It’s more of a demolition derby with a truck leading it,” he added. “I fail to see how this sells Full Throttle.”

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About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.