Ambiguous Visual Controls

Something to Lighten Your Day

By Jon Miller Updated on May 24th, 2017

Many advertising images are designed to make people subconsciously want to consume a product. How effective do you think this vending machine is towards that end? There is an implied lesson here about visual controls and lean thinking in this photo. Can you spot it?

The juxtaposition of the “fountain boy” statue atop the coke bottle is hilariously inappropriate. National colors aside, but the choice of yellow as the color of cola splash is also not appetizing.

Perhaps the conversation went something like this:

Designer: “We will have this collage of images that say ‘Belgium!’ and then under it, a Coke bottle.”
Executive: “I like it! Send it to production.”

Separately, iconic designs. Combined, a bit of a mixed message. Visual signal: ambiguous.

Someone in Coca Cola Europe either has a sense of humor or wasn’t too vigilant in performing the final check on the integrated design…

  1. John Santomer

    May 13, 2011 - 10:42 pm

    Dear Jon,
    Good day to you…You are right! They should have at least made the color of the cola splash similar to Coke OR could have used an actual splash of the cola coming from the “fountain boy”. After all, they are advertising Coke!
    National colors should not have gone as far as the cola splash from the “fountain boy”.
    This can read as “taste the P–S side of Belgium”. Or did I understood it wrong?!

  2. Jon

    May 14, 2011 - 7:10 am

    Hi John – that’s also how I read this sign. I’m sure that is not the message the Coca Cola company intended to send.

  3. Gary Petersen

    May 14, 2011 - 9:47 am

    Interesting interpretation of lean – straight from the boy to the bottle. Avoid all those unneeded intermediate steps. šŸ™‚

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