The female bogan has long been very interested in not being fat, and engaged in various fad diets, fleeting exercise regimens and superstitions, with the hope of attaining the physique of whichever starlet Richard Wilkins was polluting that week. The male bogan, meanwhile, was 10 blocks up the road, wolfing down beer and KFC at Shano’s house.
So too, was there a gulf between how the male and female bogan felt about diet cola. The female bogan embraced it with gusto from the outset, glad to have an image conscious method of carbo offsetting the nutritional villainy of fast food. The male bogan staunchly resisted all attempts to get it to drink diet cola. The idea of being on a diet made it feel faulty, disempowered, and feminine. All of these feelings were horrific beyond words to the alpha bogan, which prided itself on being manly and tough to the max.
Thankfully, Pepsi had an ear to the ground during the male bogan’s existential crisis. In December 1994, it gave the male a chance to be on a secret diet while propping up its paper thin self-esteem… to the MAX. The packaging was xtreme, the can was black instead of wimpy girly white/silver, and the font was aggressive. All of the elements were in place for the emerging product category of “maxtreme male diet cola”. Pepsi Max even sponsored the fastest rollercoaster in the world, to prove beyond doubt that the drink was super xtreme. They failed to mention to the bogan that it did not differ in any meaningful way from Diet Pepsi, and the male bogan was glad not to hear it.
After a decade of gradual progress, Pepsi Max was doing well. Coca-Cola looked across and remarked “we too, must make our cola maxtreme for the bogan”. In early 2006, Coca-Cola Australia launched a disastrously naïve internet viral campaign called “The Zero Movement” which it hoped would convince young people via street posters, websites, manifestos, and stupid impractical slogans that they should become more xtreme. Their biggest failure since not making Mother xtreme for the bogan, the campaign was soon canned. They then got back to marketing the product itself, rather than some idiotic notion of underground revolution, and it did quite well to emerge from Pepsi Max’s slipstream. Coke Zero also had the black label, robust font, and notion of manliness that the male bogan craves in its secret diets, and the word “Zero” even contains the second most bogan-cherished letter in the alphabetz.
This challenge from Coca-Cola made Pepsi step up in 2010. Bus stop billboards around the country are carrying their black poster that announced “HEY SUGAR, YOU’RE FIRED!” in jagged capital letters. It helps the bogan male to feel as though its can of Pepsi Max allows it to totally dominate its world to the xtreme. It even comes with just a sprinkling of old school gender misogyny that allows the male bogan to feel in charge of the bitch that is the sucrose labour force as it sips on its pissy diet cola.