We bought this soda because it had weird syntax (more on that in a moment) and because it was anti-American and that makes me giggle. But! I have a piece of advice: if you are going to trash on an American product, I recommend that your product doesn’t taste like ass.
Anyway, the ad copy in question reads:
“Illicit cola is made right here in New Zealand. It may taste as good your favorite cola, but we’ve taken out the cheesy American culture and replaced it with good old fashioned kiwi attitude.”
Wait. It may taste as good? I originally thought it read “It may not taste as good as your favorite cola,” which I thought was hilarious. But then I reread it as though it was sort of implying but not committing to tasting as good as Coke, and something about it irritated me.
And! I almost feel patriotic here, but when I finally read it as it should have been (as in, “It tastes as good as your favorite soda and we’ve taken out the cheesy American culture”) I was totally irritated.
Initially I thought I was irritated because rebelling against “American culture” is a too fine a point — American advertising dominates the world ad scene, but for some legitimate reasons. For example: Coca-Cola is an American product. On another hand, if there’s any one brand that has since totally transcended its origins and gone global, is Coca-Cola. The advertising for Coca-Cola in New Zealand is handled by an ad agency in either Auckland or Sydney and while I can’t say with authority what their goal is (i.e., “Emulate America!”), it seems likely they attempt to specifically market towards Kiwis and not Americans. Which is all to say: that American culture you’re rebelling against? Probably not American.
Secondly, Illicit’s entire ad approach is old. The “rebellion” product thing has been thoroughly played out by energy drink companies for quite some time now, and that’s just to limit it to beverages. And rebelling against what? Just American products? If that’s the case, why emulate it and renounce it at the same time? Hell, it even acknowledges that Coca-Cola is your favorite soda and only then tries to establish itself as “as good”. From an advertising standpoint, that’s pretty weak. Besides, New Zealand already has a few kiwiana beverages (such as L&P) (which, to be fair, made me gag) (what, it tastes like Pledge furniture polish smells) (AND! Irony! Is now made by Coca-Cola).
Lastly, and most sadly, Illicit tastes bad. It was a thin, oversweet liquid with a distinctly medicinal flavor. The last line on the bottle is “Take a big dirty gulp of Illicit and get amongst it!”October 9th, 2009 | Food Rant, New Zealand