America’s truckers are upset over an ad that Coca-Cola will run on Super Bowl Sunday that will show a Coke Full Throttle energy drink truck tailgating a van carrying shipments of the competing Red Bull brand.
A version viewed online shows the menacing truck in the mirrors of the spooked Red Bull driver forcing him to swerve off the road.
The federation of American Trucking Associations (ATA) complained that the ad, which will run during a pre-game show, deals in outdated imagery and that the spot “will reinforce and help perpetuate a negative stereotype the trucking industry and our professional drivers have fought long and hard to overcome,” said ATA President Bill Graves.
Graves wrote in a letter to Coca-Cola chairman and CEO Neville Isdell, that the fatal crash rate for large trucks had dipped to its lowest point since the US Government began keeping records in 1975.
Scott Williamson, spokesman for Full Throttle, says the complaints appear to be based on an early variant of the ad, and that “The ad has undergone significant changes…some of the changes reflect many of the concerns raised by the ATA.”
However, Coke declined to detail any changes and the final version will not be disclosed until Super Bowl Sunday.
An early version of the ad which is now on the Internet “Let Your Man Out,” depicts the Full Throttle truck acting as the pied piper, drawing men in a sleepy suburban neighborhood to skid through the town streets in cars and motorbikes.
One sequence has a dune buggy bouncing through a manicured garden, while another has an armored tank crashing through a house while heavy metal music blares in the background.