Jean Paul Gaultier

How Diet Coke became fashion’s favourite fizz

Happy 30th Birthday, Diet Coke. It hardly seems possible you’re so young. How can the Personal Computer be older than you?

Those of us in the US when Diet Coke first launched remember its “world premiere” television ad, with Linda Evans, Telly Savalas and Bob Hope toasting its success. Well, it was a big deal, the first new brand to be launched by Coca-Cola since 1886.

The ad that most people are more likely to remember, though, is the Diet Coke Break: the one launched in 1994 where the builder gets his kit off for the girls for elevenses, to that ballsy Etta James soundtrack. It was clever, funny and perfectly gave the finger to Kleenex and Nestlé with their stupid campaigns for man-sized tissues and chunky Yorkie Bars.

That was Diet Coke’s turning point – targeting the drink towards women, even though 40% of its drinkers were supposedly male. But then hasn’t that always been the key to moving a product, getting to the people who are actually doing the bloody shopping? Which might go some way to explaining why Diet Coke is not only the second most popular soft drink in the world but has also become synonymous with the fashion industry.

In the 1990s, Diet Coke became the can clutched in every model and celebrity’s manicured hand. And, via the explosion of paparazzi culture and celebrity magazines, that relationship was seen in every home. The supermodel diet of Marlboro Lights and Diet Coke may not have topped the bestsellers chart alongside the Atkins, but it was there in photographs in every magazine. Diet Coke became the ultimate accessible fashion accessory. Cheaper than an It-bag, more obvious than a perfume, and available in every corner shop…..

Picture: Jean Paul Gaultier replaced Karl Lagerfeld last year as Diet Coke’s creative director.

The Guardian: Read the full article

US: Diet Coke can gets a striking makeover