I have a confession.
Diet Coke is my downfall. If I have a deadline due, I will always need to dash to the shop first to get some of this elixir in order to ensure that I keep my cool (literally – sorry for the bad pun). If I’m in a restaurant and I order a Diet Coke with my meal, I will experience a few seconds of mild outrage if my drink turns out to be Pepsi masquerading as Diet Coke, often to the bafflement of the people I’m with. You know those annoying people who claim to know the difference between brands of Cola, and whether sugars or sweeteners are used? Yeah. I’m one of THEM. (I worked at a music festival once where the sponsor was Pepsi. No Coke products were available, and buying a Pepsi was cheaper than water. It was a sad time)
When I’m at home in Guernsey, Diet Coke is a drink that I keep for special occasions. Tapping into this concept of keeping soft drinks/soda as a treat or experience, Diet Coke have been releasing beautiful artistic cans and bottles across Europe in the past few years. When I lived in France last year, I noticed that the supermarket chain Monoprix was selling eyecatching limited edition bottles of Diet Coke designed by Karl Lagerfeld, the current mastermind behind Chanel… Thus began my collection of unusual Coca Cola vessels.
Since Lagerfeld’s bottles, I have seen numerous other limited editions come and go, including lacy nautical designs by Jean Paul Gaultier, who did a collaboration with Diet Coke last year. Last summer, whilst on the road from Germany to France, I bought a lacy JPG can from a motorway stop in Belgium, pleased by the glamour of the design. Daft Punk, David Guetta and James Bond have all since made an appearance on Coke Zero bottles. As an aside, it is interesting how Coke Zero appears to be marketed towards men, whereas Diet Coke is clearly marketed towards women. I think that the marketing concept for Diet Coke collaborations is genius – with the purchase of a can, women can claim to be drinking something designer – not only making high end designers accessible to the masses, but also tapping into the psyche of women obsessed with fashion. It has paid dividends with regards to their sales growth.
With the arrival of Spring 2013, comes a new creative director for Diet Coke, the designer Marc Jacobs. I have yet to see any designs for bottles, but the latest incarnations of limited edition Diet Coke cans are inspired by the 30 years anniversary of the brand, with three Marc Jacobs designs each referencing a decade (80s, 90s, 00s) from the past thirty years. So far I have only purchased the above design, but I think it looks quite chic. I don’t drink the limited edition bottles, but I do drink the cans, afterwards using them as cheap yet elegant design features/vases for dried flowers in my student bedroom!