Between ‘free’ apps choc-a-bloc with ads, the Google ads that follow you around the internet and the ‘word from our sponsors’ that punctuate podcasts and YouTube videos, you may think there’s not much more room left on your phone for advertisements.
Reader, you think wrong. The leaker Ice Universe has claimed that a Coca-Cola phone will emerge at some point in the future, letting you show the world that you love the surgery, caffeine-packed beverage way more than those who just passively drink it or kick-off when they’re asked, “is Pepsi okay?”
It doesn’t look like this is an especially deep collaboration. Like the oddball Gucci Xbox and Mario Tag Heuer Connected 3, this looks entirely cosmetic: a skin applied over the top, to allow a manufacturer to charge a bit more for something unusual.
But what is the phone underneath it? Well, Ice Universe notes that a Colaphone Twitter account that’s sprung up is following a number of Chinese brands, including Xiaomi, Oppo, OnePlus, Huawei and Realme. But — if it’s legitimate — it’s the last of these that seems the most likely, given the render above looks an awful lot like the Realme 10 Pro:
If that’s the case, with the greatest respect to Realme, this does feel a bit like Dandelion & Burdock rather than Coca-Cola. I’ve reviewed Realme phones before, and they’re good for the price, but the 10 Pro is far from flagship standard, with its IPS screen, Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 processor and 6GB RAM.
Of course, Coca-Cola is kind of late to the game here. Pepsi tried this eight years ago with the China-exclusive Pepsi P1. Here’s what that looked like:
And KFC, with its unorthodox marketing department that brought us the Colonal’s dating game and in-chicken-box charging, also once launched a phone in conjunction with Huawei:
Again, it was China only.
It’s hard to know who’s buying these things — if anyone — but clearly marketing departments need to do something all day to justify their salaries, so here we are: in a world where you pay a bit extra to advertise some of the richest brands in the world.