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Home > Culture and Society

Cocaine: Even Crapper Than The Real Thing

24 September 2006

Cocaine! It's a crappy free paper's wet dream. Especially when it's not actually cocaine but a caffeinated energy drink with an idiotically provocative name. Still, shitty city freesheet London Lite were still obliged to slash the drink's marketing budget by giving it a little outrage this week. Everybody wins, except no one really does, because Cocaine is a stupid idea, and London Lite is the malformed offspring of the cursed Evening Standard, and both are so badly designed they make the Spam tin look like the Louvre.

So Cocaine is the new Red Bull, 'being billed as a "legal alternative" to the Class A drug'. Billed by London Lite, then, presumably. The inventor Jamie Kirby just shrugs 'it's a fun name'. It's not really, though, is it? It's smug and posturing and banal. Not that it isn't grounded in truth. Coca-Cola, of course, is called Coca-Cola because it started out as a 'tonic drink' in the late 19th century, chockful of proper actual charlie. (Interesting advertising side note - it took us several looks at those enormous ubiquitous Pepsi Max ads to realise that they're actually a direct and blatant slag-off of Coke Zero. In fact, the word 'zero' at the right of the ads, where our eyes first fall, implanted it in our minds that they were advertising Coke Zero, not Pepsi Max. Do Pepsi realise this? We think they should be told. Or not. Fuck 'em. Useless carbonated slop-peddlers.)

Poor trembling David Raynes of the UK National Drug Prevention Alliance (a bit all-inclusive, that, isn't it?) is naturally worried. He's wheeled out to state: 'The fact is that subliminally, it is making the image of drug use cool and that's what kids want to be, cool.' (This being the gorgeously egregious London Lite, what he's actually reported to have said is 'that's what kids *what* to be', but we can assume that this is merely one of many typos. He is a sober and sensible man, obviously, and would never say 'what' when he means 'want'. No.) He's probably got a boring point.

It is obviously a rubbish name on any level. It's as needlessly, dumbly provocative as a massive double-page ad in a big paper, taken out by a group of influential atheists exasperated beyond all reason, showing a beautiful oil painting of Mohammed gaily mooning the readership. Well, maybe not quite *that* needlessly, dumbly provocative. But almost. It's also aesthetically lumpen, and commercially unviable for more than a minute. Naming your drink after a drug whose effects you'd like to suggest it apes - even calling your chocolate bar Speed! wouldn't be quite so bad since chocolate contains traces of the old whizz. And you can imagine 'Speed!' on a chocolate bar, can't you - in orange and blue 80s-style lettering, sort of leaning as if into the wind, and with little go-faster stripes running through it. Wicked. OK, so it would have be Amphetamine. On quite a long chocolate bar. How rubbish would that be? Very.

The next logical step is probably a bottled drink called Alcohol. The professional shocked-and-dismayed representatives would be flummoxed. 'Well, it seems to be attempting to make alcopops uncool, so as not to appeal to youngsters who want to be cool. Because alcohol is quite dull really, when you put it like that. However... well, we just don't feel right about it, it's truth in advertising, and it makes us feel creepy.'

Kirby claims hilariously that Cocaine is '350 per cent stronger than Red Bull'. If there's even a gum-rubbed grain of truth in that, it really doesn't sound like something we'd want to ingest, frankly. Give us some actual cocaine, from some shifty bloke who got it from some scary bloke, who got it from some dark lawless corner of the Middle East via a desperate student's colon - now, that stuff you know where you are with. Cocaine will surely be short-lived - if it's not Dasani'd when the first caffeine OD shows up in casualty or junked for its idiotic name, Coca-Cola will leap on them and kick them to death as soon as anyone in the world refers to Cocaine as 'Coke'. But we suspect there will be more of this inane marketing pussyfootery for as long as our weird fascination with 'bad' drugs endures. Cocktail Of Uppers And Downers Upside-Down Cake. Paraphernalia Was Found In The Raid Pudding. Heroin Cheese. (Note: TFT claim all the above as our intellectual property. Please address any enquiries to our lawyers.)


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