Diet Coke’s The Gardener is an ad created for the UK market and is part of the brand’s 30th birthday celebration. The commercial is set against Etta James’ popular track I Just Want To Make Love To You and stars a group of females who are floored by a gardner’s response to their teasing. The gardener is played by English model Andrew Cooper.
The brand re-created the original hunk ad 19 years ago. Although they switched out the actor, they decided to keep the same music for the update. Check out the two ads below:
The tongue-in-cheek ad is based on a Diet Coke ad from 1994 starring Lucky Vanous, so its success is partially due to the trendiness of retro sensibilities. But note that culturally speaking, the way this ad continues to spread is comparable to the succes of Old Spice’s campaign starring Isaiah Mustafa in The Man Your Man Could Smell Like, not only because it’s an ad that featured a ‘hunk’ but because of the way it openly addresses and acknowledges a certain kind of female desire.
Similar to what we saw two years ago, we can expect a slew of female-friendly media to comment and discuss the work. GIFs are being posted on Tumblr, UK’s Femail (part of UK’s Daily Mail) and Australia’s Herald Sun are digging into his personal life, and sites with heavy female traffic like Jezebel are being flooded with comments with mixed sentiments towards the commercial.
This is consistent with some of the quotations we’ve come across from various representatives from Coke. Diet Coke’s Director in Europe Olivier Geyer told The Guardian that:
It is not about the Diet Coke man being an object, it is not a voyeur thing, it is about cultural change, women being equal to men and you can see that… We wanted to celebrate not just the brand, but also the women who have been with us for 30 years. We have tried to make sure it is not the past but a very contemporary execution. [It] showcases female empowerment and camaraderie.
In another quote from Zoe Howorth, Marketing Director for Coca-Cola UK said:
As part of our ‘Sparkling Together for 30 Years’ campaign, we will celebrate and inspire the confident, spirited and fun-loving women, who have made Diet Coke an icon over the past three decades… We got in touch with our female heartland, to highlight how women’s attitudes to men have evolved since the 1990s, by giving the ‘Diet Coke Man’ concept a contemporary twist.