1968 Afri-Cola Commercial Directed by Charles Wilp

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afri cola

afri cola ad 2

afri cola ad 1

The other night I was watching yet another installment from the Lost & Found Video series and one of the many insane images that flashed before me happened to be the 1968 commercial for the German soft drink Afri-Cola. Indeed, it is a ridiculous video, and therefore fit nicely with the mish-mash of cable access footage, bad 60s exploitation scenes, horrible foreign film scenes, and the general solid gold garbage one expects from an episode of Lost & Found Video.

Although the Afri-Cola commercials have made the rounds on YouTube and the occasional blog commenting on its bizarreness, few seem to mention Charles Wilp who created the campaign for the fledging company.

Afri-Cola was Germany’s early version of today’s overly caffeinated soft drinks (we’re talking 250 mg/L). The company hired Wilp in hopes that he could breathe new life into the brand — and he delivered. My point being that Charles Wilp was well known in Germany at the time and therefore the commercials aren’t really as odd as they may seem. He was a multi-talented photographer, designer, filmmaker, and composer. His abstract concepts were in high demand throughout the 60s and 70s, and his Afri-Cola campaign with its slogan ‘Super-sexy-mini-flower-pop-op-cola’ was just what the company wanted.

The take-away message is that despite the ‘bizarreness’ of the campaign, it was also highly focused. We’re all familiar withthe climate of the 60s and Germany’s contribution to the arts at that time. Wilp and Afri-Cola targeted just about every market that wasn’t mainstream — all at the same time. And in Germany during the late 60s, that was no small market.

Published //

November 24, 2010

Author //

Drew

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7

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Advertising, Artists, Culture

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7 Comments

  1. No.
    1

    Identification

    This was interesting. I have never heard of Afri-Cola before and the video was indeed bizarre. I learn so much from this blog :)

    What I could not stop thinking about while watching this was the time in which it was made. Truth be told I am by no means an expert on this subject, but it would seem that this sort of content was definitely not widely accepted in the mainstream in the 60s, correct? Maybe more so in the United States (though we had our moments like woodstock), but it looks like Germany was definitely on the ball with some of the more underground content.

    Either way, it feels very provocative and cutting edge given the time of the piece which is what I liked about it.

    Reply to user

    • No.
      1.1

      Identification

      I’m quite sure the ad campaign was just as bizarre then as it is now. Just about everything Charles Wilp did was bizarre to some degree. What I like best about the Afri-Cola campaign was that it was all intentional.
      Also note the dark and crazy music in the commercial.

      Name //

      Drew

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    • No.
      1.2

      Team Colorcubic

      Drew, this is by far the most beautiful campaign I’ve seen in a while. You weren’t joking before when you said it was “totally out there…” Glad it lived up to the hype you gave it. ;-)

      Brandon, I totally agree that it’s provocative and cutting edge. I would even go so far to say it’s provocative and cutting edge, even by today’s standards. In fact, more so today than the last 30 years. The USA has certainly become more of a conservative lot, haven’t we? Or maybe just more hypocritical? ;-)

      Name //

      Michael

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  2. No.
    2

    Identification

    Michael, it’s true. While watching it I was like, “This is awesome, but do people appreciate it?”

    Unfortunately, it would seem that we have spiraled back a bit in some ways. It is sad to me to have to say that. I would love to see true, creative works like this more often. The generalized ad industry these days is really quite a bore. Every time I even see one on TV, which is not often because I don’t have cable, I am thoroughly unimpressed. There is a lack of real passion in what the people are doing and making, right? They are just repeating the same monotonous stuff over and again. It seems streamlined and industrialized, which takes a lot away from the point. The point is to be so much more creative and provocative that it strikes that nerve with people, makes an impression. These days the majority of it all is just to duplicate a stereotype on screen and watch people flock like birds to the store to get Coors Lite or something like that. Idk, I am ranting now :P

    P.S. This commercial really is interesting. I wonder if Afri-Cola had any thoughts on exactly what they wanted or if they were just like, “Do your thing Wilp!”

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    • No.
      2.1

      Team Colorcubic

      Brandon, you’re spot on. I’d say the same goes for the music industry as well. It’s all just inundated with regurgitated, sub-par ideas that only result in polluting the airwaves, with no-talent creative directors who try to peddle poop for gold.

      Contrary to popular, national belief, America is not leading the way in anything progressive, pertaining to mainstream entertainment. In fact, I’d say especially mainstream entertainment.

      Reason being (unfortunately) is generally more politically and profit driven more than anything else.

      Take for instance, MTV. They were known for being the one and only source for amazing music videos back in the 80s, all the way up to their pinnacle (IMHO), with Liquid Television. And now look at them. They’ve completely ruined their brand. It’s absolute garbage. And now their brand is only contributing to perpetuating the ignorance and arrogance of a force-fed, apathetic generation of non-achievers. An entire generation of lowest common denominators. Fucking zombies. As a creative, and one of the creative directors for Colorcubic, MTV wound up our list of potential clients we will never work with, unless they were willing to completely revamp everything about their brand, including what form of entertainment they choose to run with. (The list is quite large. Maybe we’ll share it with everyone someday.)

      Name //

      Michael

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  3. No.
    3

    Identification

    Indeed sir. I want to say I am disappointed, but what good is that anyway. The truth is that it is just harder to find the stuff that really speaks you know. It is a terrible thing for entertainment industries to be this way, and unfortunately the mass populace just eats it all up. I hate to be a hater (look at that wording) but I feel too many people have given up on being smarter than the beast at the throne. It is, apparently, all so much easier to just give in, right, so they do. This, again, perpetuates the beast.

    So, what good comes of this Sick Sad World (Daria anyone, another MTV ref)? Well, some of the good I do manage to take out of it is how much more I appreciate the good art, music or what have you. It is as if it means event that much more now you know.

    That’s why I keep my Nueva Forma Listening Pleasures on Podcast!

    Thanks man! :D

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    • No.
      3.1

      Team Colorcubic

      haha… well said, sir. Well said. Cheers! :-)

      Name //

      Michael

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