Those crafty bastards

You may have seen the billboards around town: “Why can’t you have a sick of work day?” is one example. It’s all about the “Zero Movement“, whose manifesto reads: “Rid the world of all the negative consequences that limit us all.” A new message appears on the site every day, pseudo-philosophy dressed up as meaningful pronouncment. Take the example of January 10:

“Unless you happen to be a trust fund baby, a lottery winner or in possession of a sugar mamma/daddy, you’re going to be spending a good part of your life working for a living. Sometimes you’ll like your job, sometimes you’ll loathe it but it will always feel a lot more bearable if you give yourself some sort of reward at the end of the day. You put in the hard yards, so why can’t a hard day’s work come with a happy ending? I think it’s time we all take matters into our own hands and make sure we give ourselves that happy ending as the work day grinds to a halt. Maybe your happy ending is a drink with the boys, maybe it’s dancing on table tops in a smoky club until 3am, or maybe it’s cheering on your local jelly wrestling team. Whatever it is, reward yourself. You deserve it!”

Soon enough, the “movement” started appearing in online forums but the cultural jammers weren’t far behind.

Just what or who is the “Zero movement”?

Simply put, Coke.

Over to the jammers (who have created a site, “The Zero Movement“):

“They’ve bought billboards and the backs of magazines.

“They call themselves ‘the zero movement’, but what are they?

“They’re a bunch of advertising wankers pretending to be a grass-roots movement.

They’re spending Coca-Cola’s money to try to get you interested in drinking a product called ‘Coca-Cola Zero‘.

“So what is this great new product? Well, if it’s anything like the US version, it’s a can of undisclosed ingredients mixed with a blend of aspartame and acesulfame potassium. Yum!”

This kind of viral advertising and “grass-roots” marketing is becoming increasingly common in an environment saturated with useless products, drinks and food. It’s legal and possibly quite effective, though ethically suspect. The only reason a company like Coke wouldn’t want to be immediately associated with its product is because the organisation is suffering in an age where its dodgy workplace practices are under the spotlight like never before.

Another brave multinational hides behind (attempted) anonymity.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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