Watch Zizek Explain Why Coke is the Perfect Commodity

In this video from his latest film “The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology,” Slavoj Zizek explains why Coca Cola is the perfect commodity. He then turns his attention to kinder eggs, egg-shaped chocolates with a toy in the center.

“It was already Marx who long ago emphasized that a commodity is never just a simple object that we buy and consume. A commodity is an object full of theological, even metaphysical, niceties. Its presence always reflects an invisible transcendence.  And the classical publicity for Coke quite openly refers to this absent, invisible, quality. Coke is the “real thing,” Zizek argues, foregrounded by Coke commercials that urge consumers to “enjoy.”

“It’s not just a positive property of Coke, something that can be described or pinpointed,” he continues. “It’s the mysterious something more. The indescribable excess which is the object cause of my desire.”

“We are obliged to enjoy. Enjoyment becomes a kind of a weird perverted duty. The paradox of Coke is that you are thirsty, you drink it, but as everyone knows the more you drink it the more thirsty you get.”

  • Ashok Mohapatra

    Indeed, commodification of Coke or any other object for that matter involves the masking of its material specificity and its relocation in a momentless space of desire, so that the said desire is always stoked, never fulfilled. Desire unfulfilled signifies an empty time.

    • Ashok, isn’t Zizek saying the opposite: that the essential specificity of the object is immaterial – “Coke is the Real Thing”, where “real” denotes something beyond fizzy brown liquid in a glass container.

      Perhaps the question is: After the revolution, how will things change? Will the bottles be plainly labelled “Fizzy brown liquid” or will they be labelled in a more imaginative way? In seeing though the image making are we supposed to stop image making, or are we to carry on making the images but build into them (somehow) a wink that we know they are just images, but are images that function like Nietzsche’s necessary lies?

      Aren’t you implying that after the revolution there won’t be any stupid plastic gifts in the chocolate eggs? But Z seems to be saying that the plastic (the ideal) is necessary to our enjoyment of the chocolate (the real/the material).

      • Sev

        At least to begin with, the point would be to become aware of the image that is implied in the object / commodity , etc.
        This changes the way we look at everything around us, and in this change of view may be the seed of a new action (which can’t be easily predicted but would be a break from that which has come before.)

  • Chip Henriss

    The toy probably made in a Chinese Guhlag! 🙂

  • Nicholas Ballesteros

    I think Zizek is emphasizing the positive content of the void. As Lacan pointed out that anorexics aren’t not eating. They’re eating the nothing.