Let me propose a new principle of the Internet universe. I call it 4Chan’s Law. It goes something like this: If a massive conglomerate attempts to engender millennial goodwill through ridiculously transparent “cool” marketing campaigns, like, say, “create your own GIFs to show how much you love the taste of ice-cold Coca-Cola!” a bunch of lizard-brain kids will hijack it as quickly as possible.
This story is as old as time, and yet it continues to happen. Here, I’ll prove it to you with a quick quiz: The Coca-Cola Company did indeed recently release a “GIF-maker” with the instructions to “GIF the feeling” that Coca-Cola gives you. How did this pan out?
- People around the world happily paid tribute to Coca-Cola with their own user-generated ingenuity.
- Coca-Cola stock increased 4.6 percent and everyone got huge bonuses.
- Everyone forgot about that hole in the ozone layer.
- People immediately buried the Coca-Cola GIF-maker for the chintzy, out-of-touch artifice it is—managing to circumvent the software’s rejection of terms like “poop,” “dick,” and “capitalism.”
Seriously, how ill-conceived was this? I don’t expect much from a company like Coca-Cola, but a fucking GIF-maker? Nothing good has ever come from someone using the word “Tumblr” in a boardroom meeting.
I’m glad we have a cynical task force ready and willing to savage these cloying marketing ploys, but my god, in 2016 you’d think that people would understand that you need to actually comprehend a community before you try to pander to it. The polar bears are good enough. Stop embarrassing us.