The Coca-Cola Company Discovers Frank O’Hara’s “Having a Coke with You,” Uses It for Promotion | Locus Solus: The New York School of Poets:
Frank O'Hara would have loved it .I think, given his method of associative drift , which would be starting with one idea, situation and place but then deviating from his nominal topic and instead addressing what his gaze fell upon and what he thought when he saw it. O'Hara made an art by not really talking about things he begins to murmur about .
The fact that Coca Cola chooses a poem that does not discuss Coke or its benefits for 90 percent of its length seems consistent. It's in keeping with O'Hara's determination to elide rather than elucidate. This dovetails well with the soft drink slogan "Things go better with Coke" that was their ad campaign for years, with the emphasis being on the things that the soft drink goes better with and not the beveridge itself. Less a product with qualities in-themselves, it is sold as an enhancer of things in the world that assumedly already have intrinsic worth; Coke just makes them better, somehow, like the right seasoning on the right filet of fish.
O'Hara's poem, which does not discuss the merits of Coke, is annexed for a promotion that wants us to consider the world surrounding the cola rather than the cola itself. There is enough here for a visit to the semiotic field, but it's enough for me just to relish an irony no one likely saw coming.