Diet Coke Embraces Its Virtual Nothingness


We remember the first time we had a Diet Coke, when that stupid vending machine next to the baseball field was out of regular Coke. After one sip and some great expectorations, we threw the mostly full can away thinking two things: 1.) this tastes like someone added "ass" to water, 2.) girls will put anything in their mouths if they think it will help them lose weight. (Both insights have aided people throughout the years. The first helped Glaceau founder J. Darius Bikoff make millions. The second netted more than a few hummers from Kate Moss.)
As bottled water encroaches on soft-drink territory (the two are now comprable in size, with bottled water bringing in $50 billion a year to soda's $68 billion), Diet Coke has employed a marketing team of budding Sartreans, who are embracing Coke's nothingness as quintessential to its being.
A new Diet Coke print ad, pointed out by Freakonmics' Steven Levitt, simply contains a picture of a can of Diet Coke and the tag-line "99 Percent Water." (Next up, an abortion-clinic ad that shows a picture of a fetus in a bottle with the tagline "75 Percent Water" (keeping with the theme of the day))
Levitt notes how ridiculous this ad would have seemed in the 80s, and several of the commenters note that pointing out the water content of something is ridiculous in the first place, since everything we drink is mostly water. Starbucks - everything we serve is 98+% water. Even water is 99% water in most cases.
At DealBreaker, we're starting a new marketing firm for consumer products that will up the post-existentialist ante, and just advertise our products as "99.9 Percent Nothing." You can eat almost nothing, virtually guilt free. By eating almost nothing, you're bound to lose weight. After all, everything is mostly nothing (look at an atom).
Diet Coke is 99% Water (And That Is Now a Good Thing) [Freakonomics Blog]


Guy Whose Entire Persona Is Built Around Loving Cherry Coke Can't Even Pick Cherry Coke Out Of A Lineup

Buffett said in the letter that he was looking for someone who was emotionally stable, could avoid serious risks, think independently and read human behavior. He also tried to reassure shareholders that he was in excellent health: "It's amazing what Cherry Coke and hamburgers will do for a fellow."-- New York Times, March 9, 2007 "The Economic Club of Washington rolled out a special head table — and laid in a special soft drink supply — at the Marriott Wardman Park in the District last Tuesday for the club’s 25th anniversary, where it hosted billionaire investor Warren Buffett...Economic Club Executive Director Mary Brady said she was advised by Buffett’s assistant, Debbie Bosanek, to keep things moving and find a supply of Cherry Coke (Buffett loves it...The Marriott Wardman Park, which is a Pepsi venue, made a special exception."-- Washington Post, June 10, 2012 For six months, as the credit crisis deepened, billionaire investor Warren Buffett turned away a string of Wall Street firms that came hat in hand looking for help. On Tuesday, Mr. Buffett says, he was sitting with his feet on his desk in Omaha, drinking a Cherry Coke and munching on mixed nuts, when he got an unusually candid call from a Goldman Sachs investment banker. Tell us what kind of investment you'd consider making in Goldman, the banker urged him, and the firm would try to hammer out a deal.-- Wall Street Journal, September 25, 2008 David Rolfe, chief investment officer of Wedgewood Partners, which owns Berkshire stock, said the cancer was a non-news event. “I’m more worried about him getting hit by the Cherry Coke truck,” Rolfe said, a reference to Buffett’s professed love of the Coca-Cola product.-- Deal Journal, April 18, 2012 Whenever I lost track of Buffett, [Cherry] Coke often appeared to guide me--a carbonated version of the proverbial trail of crumbs. In London, our party went from airport to hotel in separate cars. When I arrived at the Berkeley Hotel, I did not have to wonder for long whether Buffett had preceded me. A bellhop approached with a shopping bag. ''Is this yours?'' he asked. Inside were two six-packs of Cherry Coke. Two days later, I was in the crowded lobby of the Schlosshotel Kronberg near Frankfurt, following a white-gloved waiter bearing aloft a single bottle of Coca-Cola on a silver tray.-- BusinessWeek, June 5, 1999 The above is but a mere sampling, a drop in the bucket, of articles printed over the years intended to show us how much Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett loves Cherry Coke. That it is his exclusive soft drink of choice. That he spurns all others in its favor. That he bathes in it. That he pisses it. That he bleeds not blood, but Cherry Coke. That the mere suggestion of drinking something that is not Cherry Coke makes him sick. That the notion he wouldn't be able to tell the difference between Cherry Coke- his lifeblood- and, say, Diet Dr. Pepper or Pepsi Wild Cherry, would be laughable. And then this happened: The takeaway here is that we've all been pawns an an extremely sick game. Warren Buffett Fails the Cherry Coke Taste Test [BloombergTV]