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Does Tom Colicchio *really* like Diet Coke "just for the taste of it?"

First, poor Alton Brown got all jumped on for making an ad for Welch's grape juice -- a perfectly fine product.

But, when Tom Colicchio endorses Diet Coke, not a peep? (or did I miss the peep while I was on vacation?). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1aHcr...

I have a friend who drinks diet drinks, and prefers the taste of Diet Coke to, say, Coke Zero.
But I think that's just conditioning by years of crappy diet soda flavors.

Is "sophisticated" as Tom's description of Diet Coke just another word for "bad-tasting-but-you'll-learn-to-like-it-'cause-it's-diet-and I'm-getting-some-good-money-for-doing-this-ad-in-light-of-my-newish-popularity"?

Doesn't Colicchio's endorsement undermine his credibility as an arbiter of "taste" and fine food & drink?

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  1. I've met Tom Colicchio in the past....he's nothing like he is on television. He's really a quiet and regular guy. I do not judge anyone who takes endorsement money, for better or worse.

    11 Replies
    1. re: fourunder

      what if he endorsed taco bell?

      i thought endorsements were about believing in the quality of a product or service, and putting your integrity and reputation on the line in support of it.

      i have no problem with anyone making money on an endorsement, but i would hope that it's (at least *also*) about the quality of the product one is endorsing.

      i have nothing against tom colicchio IF he really believes that diet coke has a "sophisticated" taste.

      1. re: alkapal

        Different Strokes......

        I would like to think I know something about food and beverage, but I do not confuse my knowledge with my tastes. I may know more than some on some subjects, but my tastes are no better than anyone elses...just different.. There's nothing wrong in liking diet soda and I would not challenge one's position otherwise. Myself, I like bubbles and I would rather have a diet cola with a meal rather than wine, so it would be hypocritical of me to do so.

        Someone may not like Diet Coke for whatever reasons, but I do not believe they can argue about the quality of the product itself when considering the research and the process in which it is produced, resulting in the final product which is brought to market..

        With regards to Taco Bell....where else can you get a taco on the fly on the East Coast. It is what it is......a fix.

        1. re: fourunder

          I am probably not understanding your post (I apologize in advance, my own fault, I often misunderstand things) but respectfully I would argue that the one thing you could debate about is the quality of this, or any other, product. As an example, Chef Colicchio may prefer the taste of Diet Coke, you may like the taste of Coke Zero, while my choice is Royal Crown Cola. As these are personal choices based on our own taste preferences, any argument cannot really progress past the "I like the way this tastes better than the way those taste" stage. But we can easily argue about the quality of the research, ingredients, production process, and product because they are quantifiable. Someone could make the argument that Diet Coke is a better quality drink because it is sweetened only with aspartame versus Coke Zero which uses a combination of more inexpensive sweeteners (I do not actually know what the differences are between them, I am just making up "facts" in an attempt to illustrate my point). Or argue that Coke Zero from the U.S. is a higher quality product than Coke Zero from Canada because the ratio of ingredients used in the formula is different (again, "facts" I'm making up).

          Please ignore this (long-winded) post if I have misunderstood or misread your post (as I probably have) and I apologize again.

        2. re: alkapal

          Rick Bayless endorsed Burger King. Did this "endorsement undermine his credibility as an arbiter of "taste" and fine food & drink" in your mind? I'm pretty sure you've written complimentary things about him since the commercial.

          1. re: alkapal

            Some endorsements are undoubtedly about believing in a product. But sometimes, it's just about _payday_. A commercial like this will usually generate a year's salary for one day of work; whether he really likes the stuff or not hardly matters. It's show biz.

            1. re: The Professor

              One minor nit, Professor.

              It's not "show biz". It's life.

              At one point or another (unless we're a trust fund baby) we are all going to do things we don't necessarily enjoy or believe in just for the "payday." It's called "a job".

              1. re: ipsedixit

                VERY good point.

                I guess since my "job" (indeed, my entire life) has always been in showbiz, and I have done commercials like this, the payday aspect came to the fore.

                But in general, you are absolutely right in your assessment. We are just observing from different angles.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  "At one point or another (unless we're a trust fund baby) we are all going to do things we don't necessarily enjoy or believe in just for the "payday." It's called "a job".

                  I think that's a generalization which isn't terrrible helpful. Yes, there might be aspects of a job somebody doesn't like but with these examples (Rick Bayless, Tom Colicchio ) we are not talking about parts of their jobs but how serious they take principles. I heard Rick Bayless talking about the importance of slow food etc. that he is now getting money to make ads for Burger King at least for me undermines his credibility.

                  1. re: honkman

                    fwiw, Rick Bayless ended up donating the money he made from the Burger King ads to charity.

                    1. re: Miss Needle

                      FWIW (II).

                      It's been a few years since this bit of information, but the relative of Tom Colicchio that I know, told me at the time, TC employed more than a thousand employees and his businesses had to do 10 million annually just to cover health benefits for them. I'm sure that number is higher today...anything he gets I'm sure gets directed to the appropriate place......whether it's for his businesses or his personal retirement fund.

                      1. re: fourunder

                        Yeah, I don't really blame him for what he did. Not an ideal situation, but we all need to make a living. I'll admit that I entered the Pillsbury bake-off one year. I don't eat any of that stuff but the grand prize is a million dollars! In my fantasy mind, I was picturing myself winning and trying to find a way to explain that to my patients (to whom I encourage not to eat processed junk).

          2. I love Diet Coke and I love that Tom Colicchio is endorsing it.

            1 Reply
            1. re: laliz

              I like Diet Coke. I prefer Diet Pepsi. I'd really rather have a Diet Dr Pepper. I don't give a hang who is endorsing what. I'm still going to buy whichever one is on sale this week.

            2. I love Diet Coke.

              You gotta problem with that?

              5 Replies
              1. re: ipsedixit

                You don't gotta problem with what aspartame can do to ya?

                Just Google "dangers of Aspartame" and see what comes up...

                1. re: cmvan

                  Google dangers of "grilled food", "soy", "fat", "fried food", "sugar" and just about anything else you consume and aee what comes up.

                  1. re: KTinNYC

                    ... or for that matter the air you breath, the water you drink, heck, and even the clothes you wear.

                    Humans aren't built to live forever. With my limited time, I'm going to eat and drink what I like.

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        It's about time more of us understood that.

                        Google: dangers of skiing or sky diving or sailing.

                        There's more to life than just life. Life is to be lived. It means eating stuff that'll kill us once in a while. (Or even a little too often.) Who cares??

                        Is stressing about everything you put in your body healthy??

                        DT

                2. My soda choice is Coke Zero. I like the taste of it. I don't like the aftertaste from regular coke but the coke taste is good.
                  I'll take Diet Pepsi second but only in Canada since the US version is very inferior.
                  Diet Coke third.

                  DT

                  1. I don't have a problem with it. I just assumed he's a Diet Coke drinker. I know I am, and have been forever. People have individual preferences. I don't know if it has a sophisticated taste or not, but it's what I like and I don't find it far from the realm of possibility that Tom likes it too. I don't really drink alcohol often, and I have to say I just love an icy cold can (yes can!) of Diet Coke with my sushi or dim sum. I'm not ashamed to admit it. (Okay, well, a little ashamed -- my sister makes fun of me for this preference.)

                    1. I remember reading an article in the wall street journal awhile back about Joel Robuchon and he always drinks diet coke. Some people just like it.

                      1. My comment about aspartame was just to mention its potential effects, not to put down peoples' preferences. My sister still drinks the stuff even though her doctor told her it could be contributing to her migraines. Her choice.

                        It's also one of those things where a substitute created for a natural ingredient turns out to be worse for you than what it was made to replace (ie some salt substitutes).

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: cmvan

                          "It's also one of those things where a substitute created for a natural ingredient turns out to be worse for you than what it was made to replace (ie some salt substitutes)." -cmvan

                          That is your interpretation. For my diabetic co-workers (2 of them), the "original" ingredient IS worse - she can't drink full-sugar soda. Diet is her only option. For others, the amount of calories in soda is more harmful than the "risks" of sugar substitutes. Re: the "risks" you may want to check out: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/fa... .

                        2. Speaking as someone who's been in the ad business 18+ years, part of my job lining up talent for photo shoots and televisions pots, the bottom line in ALL of this is the ALMIGHTY DOLLAR.

                          You can get just about ANYONE to schill your crap for the right amount of green. With Chef Colicchio, I'm sure it was a no brainer. More capital to invest into his various restaurants. Doesn't mean I respect him any less, I just see him as a very shrewd business-man.

                          Hope this helps.

                          1. Three points:

                            1] I drink Diet Coke. I am certain that there are just as many people I profoundly dislike who also drink it as people I admire. The celebrity endorsement aspect is lost on me in most cases.

                            2] I find that the parts of the commercial that are NOT about Diet Coke to be a lot more interesting: an overt put-down of hip, trendy, & fussy food and presentation. And this part I am in absolute agreement with. (NOTE: I have never seen Tom Colicchio on any cooking show, so I have no idea what kind of dishes he actually produces.)

                            3] If he did it for the money, I'm OK with that. If you saw the profile of him in a magazine called Guitar Aficionado, you know that he has rather expensive taste in guitars. He probably NEEDS the money to feed that jones.

                            1. IF he really likes it, fine.

                              IF he just did it for the money, well, i guess i'm still an idealist. in the past, didn't people call the dishonest endorsement a "sell-out"?

                              ~~~~~
                              or is the squish word "sophisticated" -- where one can pour any kind of meaning into it that one would like? sort of similar to "change."