Diet Coke Magic: The Idealistic Insanity Promised by an Ad

By Andrew Bryd

As a living, breathing person in the 21st century, you’re probably somewhat familiar with Diet Coke. You may know it as “Gross Coke,”“The Taylor Swift of Soft Drinks,” or the disgruntled sigh of someone who’s just been asked if Diet Pepsi is okay. If nothing else, you might have seen it advertised on television or at the movies, specifically with these two commercials in the past few years.

Go ahead, take a minute to watch those bad boys.

Both of those ads make drinking Diet Coke seem pretty awesome. A wild dance club in a run-of-the-mill carwash?

A fancy party in economy class?

Diet Coke Magic GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Sign me up, buddy! Unfortunately for all of us, while the ads make this soda seem like the perfect beverage for a whimsical night out, if you dig a little deeper you’ll find there’s a far more disturbing reality at play.

Let’s start by addressing the basic truth these ads portray: opening a Diet Coke alters the universe of whoever’s holding it. The second you pop the top or twist the lid, you’re creating a tear in the very fabric of your reality. We know the festivities that take place in the commercials are actually happening. The flash mob that erupts around that woman’s SUV isn’t a hallucination – the carwash worker brushes confetti off his uniform at the end.


The same goes for the Gatsby festival on the airplane. When the party ends, our protagonist’s potential love interest is clearly aware of what just went down, so it wasn’t an altitude sickness-induced dream.


By drinking a Diet Coke, these individuals are changing reality, turning our dreary world into what appears to be an unbelievably fun place. The commercials go out of their way to show how much our existence here on planet Earth normally sucks. Everything is bland and nearly monochromatic until someone opens the soda, as if to say, “The only way you’ll ever have fun in this miserable life is by cracking open a Diet Coke, you pathetic losers.” Who wouldn’t want to keep a supply of corn syrup water on-hand if that were the case? For the price of a 20 oz. bottle, the power to transform your boring universe into a nonstop music video could be in your hands.

Imagine the possibilities that power allows. If you’re pissed off at how your garbage life is going, you can simply open a can and take advantage of that sweet, sweet, Diet Coke Magic. Oh, the classmate you’ve been crushing on turned down your prom invitation? No problem, just drink this special formula aspartame water and choose whichever partygoer strikes your fancy! Do your stupid neighbors keep letting their dogs treat your yard like a gas station bathroom? Open a steady stream of soda bottles around their house and enjoy as the spontaneous rave keeps them up all night!

Ordinary people can instantly affect the lives of those around them in drastic ways, for better or worse. When a soft drink can alter reality, mere mortals become all-powerful gods.

I’ve seen pleasant, mild-mannered coworkers become power-hungry monsters after getting a small promotion. The idea of putting cosmic power in the grasp of whoever has enough quarters for the office vending machine is terrifying. I don’t particularly enjoy the notion of Paul from HR owning the capability to ruin my day just because the copier jammed. A 2-liter of Diet Coke would be enough to turn anyone into a raging megalomaniac, bending reality and destroying lives as they see fit.

This magical substance would undoubtedly be weaponized. Military leaders all over the world would love to get their hands on Diet Coke: Reinforcements in a Can! Dance party diversions on the battlefield would become the new norm. It’s not just state-run forces who would utilize this witchcraft, either. Bank robberies and other crimes would skyrocket right alongside Coca Cola’s profit margin. Picture the shootout scene from Heat, but now Robert DeNiro can spawn dozens of brightly-dressed pop dancers on command. Cops would find themselves in the middle of a Britney Spears video every time they got close to catching a suspect. Law enforcement and the justice system would be next to useless compared to the soft drink genie.

There’s also the question of just how far the Diet Coke’s effects reach. At the very least, we know it affects those in the immediate vicinity of the soda. Those poor saps sitting in coach went from accidentally rubbing sweaty elbows with each other to downing cocktails in the span of a few milliseconds. An entire carwash turned into Coachella and left a single employee to clean up the mess. But is that the extent of the magic, or does the anomaly extend beyond the confines of whatever structure the Diet Coke is currently in?

For all we know, the entire world erupts into a party-riot when these women crack open their drinks. Schoolteachers halt their calculus lessons for an impromptu twerk contest. Monasteries suddenly become EDM clubs, the monks’ faces illuminated by glowsticks and strobe lights. God help you if someone decides they want a Coke in the middle of your coronary bypass surgery. The world as we know it would descend into chaos every time some jackass decides they’re counting calories.

As for the party-goers who appear in that carwash, are they real people with lives of their own, transported there for a quick dance session? At best, they signed up for the job, and at worst, they’re being roped into something they want no part of. Even if they are willing participants, the logistics of that duty would be a nightmare. There’s no way to schedule around people drinking Diet Coke. You’d be at the mercy of strangers. You could be reading a bedtime story to your kid and before you realize it, you’re doing The Hustle at a bowling alley in Tampa. A well-deserved massage could be ruined when you’re ripped through space to dance at some slovenly miscreant’s poker night. I’m willing to bet there’d be more than a few cases of accidental public indecency at these surprise sockhops.

And if the dancers aren’t real humans, they’re beings created by the Diet Coke Magic specifically for partying. Look at them again. Several of these humanoids suspiciously resemble the brushes, bubbles, and lights you’d find in your average carwash. This leaves two possibilities:

  • A Beauty and the Beast-type scenario, in which a group of people were transformed into tools and are only allowed to become human again for 30 seconds after someone opens a Diet Coke in that specific facility. They are fully conscious, self-aware beings, with a past no one will ever know about and a future that is bound to the soda.
  • The actual equipment is temporarily transported away and replaced by these human-like creatures for the duration of the shindig. They have no aspirations, no memories, no loved ones. They spend their entire short existence partying around whatever car is in front of them, then disappear back into the ether as soon as the vehicle is clean. However fun their brief life may be, it is an empty one with no real meaning.

Both options are horrifying and morally abhorrent in their own way. My choice of carbonated beverage shouldn’t come with an existential crisis attached. But hey, at least those people on the airplane were real! They just got to wear fancy clothes and live like Frasier for a minute, right?

Take a closer look at the beginning of the commercial. That’s clearly a Red Eye flight. For the most part, those passengers are either sleeping or listlessly watching movies on their seat back screens.


After brazenly strolling into the galley and taking a Diet Coke from the flight attendants, our protagonist takes a sip. The moment she does, everyone aboard Flight Zero Cal is ripped from their slumber for the impromptu celebration. Disturbing the fitful sleep of your fellow travelers is bad enough, lady. Worse still are the bizarre situations in which some find themselves:

One of the bleary-eyed movie-watchers becomes a bass-twirlin’ fiend:


A flight attendant ends up serving drinks with one arm, the rest of his body crammed next to someone’s carry-on:


But by far, the worst fate belongs to this guy. The gentleman in the bottom left of the opening screen shot. Here, we’ll show you one more time.


This unfortunate bastard just wants to spend his flight working quietly on his crossword puzzle. The punishment Diet Coke sees fit for this crime, for some god-awful reason?


Bestiality. Gaze into those eyes and tell me that’s not the look of a man trying to get lucky. The Diet Coke Magic saw this dude in all his crosswordin’ glory, and decided the most fun he could offer the airplane bonanza is silently putting the moves on that (admittedly well-groomed) canine. Was the dog even there before our heroine opened her Diet Coke? Possibly, but Mr. Crossword for damned sure wasn’t looking to swap spit with it. A stupid bottle of sugarless flavor syrup turned him into a freak, all for the sake of…adding some “atmosphere” to a 30-second ball? Giving everyone else something to gossip about for the rest of the flight? I don’t know, but if Lesser Coke did this to me I’d be shattered man.

The reality depicted in these Diet Coke commercials is nowhere near the fun-filled utopia it appears to be. It is a chaotic world without free will, where some people are forced to gleefully dance on a complete stranger’s whim and others are reduced to chasing some shaggy dog tail. No one can live a normal life when Diet Coke Magic exists.

Maybe think about that the next time someone asks you if Diet Pepsi is okay.

Follow Andrew on Twitter and he’ll crack open a cold can of reality.

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