Hojao Abhi Ke Liye Crazy.
Thankfully, Pepsi stopped short of that in their quest to emulate Coke; in face of the latter’s recent successful campaigns. With cricket becoming an increasingly unpredictable platform, Pepsi makes the mistake of going all fuzzy, warm and happy, which is pure Coke territory.
Their latest TVC, a longish 2 minute spectacle, is filled to the brim with generic shots of all the happy and upbeat moments that make life worth living. You see, it’s all a celebration of happiness. Of living life to the fullest. Of being happy and sharing silliness.
Notice how many times ‘happy’ makes an appearance in the last paragraph. Three. That’s the problem. Pepsi isn’t supposed to be about happiness. Coke is. Pepsi is the edginess, adventure and boldness that make life exciting. It’s about being unapologetically individual. Of doing what you want, now. It’s right there in their tagline ‘Live for Now’ aka ‘Dil Maange Abhi’.
These thoughts are confirmed by: (1) Pepsi’s own bold and striking ads that precluded this one (the cool billboards, the Priyanka/Rabir TVC), and (2), the recent radical redesign of the Pepsi bottle (to be rolled out globally with time). This redesign is a clear reflection of the changing strategy and brand idea of Pepsi as it seeks to cement its differentiated identity in face of stiff competition from Coke. It is as far away from being happy and ‘good’ as it can be. As one of our readers pointed out, the new bottle is angular and masculine, in sharp contrast to Coke’s iconic curvy shape. In other words it’s the same edgy vs warm and fuzzy equation again.
The ad itself, while clearly missing the brand essence, is mediocre in and of itself. It’s a circus of generic shots, clichés and artificiality that has sadly come to define Pakistani advertising of late. It almost seems as if Walter pieced together bits from one cooking oil ad there, a cellular youth package there, and some archive footage of cola sourced just in time from region.
All this is especially painful since it is coming from a brand that did some truly remarkable work last year and made a strong showing on our Best of 2012 list.
A quick glance through feedback on social media tells us that we’re not alone in our reservations:
Well I like the original Dil Mangey ad.. this one was meh and forgettable.. I think they are trying to do one up on the Albela Rahi campaign.. when they really shouldn’t go there.. I think Pepsi Co needs to take a unique platform.. since cricket in Pakistan has started failing and they need to grasp on to a new identity – Nabeel Khan