What do men drink? They drink Coke Zero, but you have to be very careful with them about it. Sometimes they forget they’re allowed to have some. Put a man alone in a room with a Coke Zero and he’ll die of thirst.

“I don’t think I’m allowed to drink that,” he’ll announce quietly to the silent room. “I think – I think this is that drink, that drink for women, the one that they have. Excuse me? Excuse me? Hello? I need – I need a drink for men, please. Please. I need a drink for me, for my male throat.”

But those days are over. No longer must we watch our husbands and brothers and fathers perish due to brand confusion. They’re selling Coke Zero…to men. The new commercials targeting men are set to air this weekend:

The first spots from the indie agency are closely tied to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, which kicks off with Selection Sunday this weekend.

In the TV ad which will begin airing tomorrow, two guys are working on their brackets in the office. As the boss approaches, one guy takes off, while the other drinks a Coke Zero and reassures himself he’s doing the right thing by spending time on brackets rather than work.

What happens to the man who leaves? What becomes of the Cokeless man?

“Our new campaign tasks the brand’s voice to be the ultimate defender of guy enjoyment on the premise of not having to make any sacrifices. It celebrates guys being guys,” said Pio Schunker, head of integrated marketing communications at Coca-Cola North America.

For too long we have required blood sacrifices from the men who wished to enjoy Coke; for too long we have rounded up, arrested, and summarily executed guys just for being guys. Coke’s message to the survivors is “It’s not your fault.” As Pio, bless him, puts it:

“‘It’s not your fault’ is based on the notion that the brand can and should be everywhere that guys bond and find camaraderie with one another – like sports, music and gaming.”

“You sport and game and also music?” the men will say tentatively to one another as they drink their Cokes. “I also, brother. I also.”

[Image via Wikimedia Commons]