Bringing American culture closer to new immigrants
This difference of the week article is going to be a little more than just a short note. I’m going to talk about diet coke and this topic is serious, the product is too ingrained in everyday life and, consequently, deserves, special attention. When I say diet coke I also mean all kinds of diet soft drinks, coke just being most promoted and most consumed.
A few things: I don’t want to get myself into an argument about pros and cons of diet coke from medical point of view because I am not a specialist in this sphere. All I know is what I see on a regular basis, and I see people drinking huge amounts of diet. Really huge.
So, I’ve done some Internet research and found an extensive list of all side effects and misconceptions concerning diet soda products and if you’re interested here are some useful links:
My goal, however, is not to state the obvious. I’m curious about the reasons behind diet soda consumption and people’s perception of the product. In other words, why is diet soda so popular in America?
I always search for answers in the culture of a country. No other country is as obsessed with diet soda as America. Europeans have ”light coke” versions but the sales aren’t so impressive. Why?
Here is what can be the explanation from a cultural point of view: Good intentions. Americans are the nation characterized by health and calorie consciousness. It doesn’t mean that it is an overall healthy country, of course, but people here have affordable gyms, great choice of healthy food, etc in a weird combination with high obesity rates. The word ‘diet’ itself has a positive connotation (diet = good).
Moreover, going deeper into American culture we see that health is life and the image of a successful person is closely interconnected with wise nutrition choices. Diet soda products sound perfect in this sense. The concept of diet coke corresponds with such cultural values and trends as movement, living in the now, quick results, go get approach, healthy living, calories consciousness. Basically, marketing campaigns created excellent bait for consumers – get what you want (sweet drink) which is good for you (wrong assumption) plus you pay the same and no special effort is involved. With all the advertising, things get more and more ridiculous. I saw a couple of diet coke ads at my fitness club and I honestly can’t help thinking that it is an oxymoron.
Diet soda is a wolf in sheep’s clothing but this clothing seems to fit current American culture. Doesn’t it?