We know summer is fast approaching when the cola giants take over the television channels. And Coke is the first one to announce the change in the season.
For years together, Aamir Khan has been endorsing Coke. The last campaign they did with the star was titled, 'Opening happiness with Coke’. (Which was all about spreading cheer and bringing people together.) Well, this year they seem to have decided that other members of his extended family need to earn some moolah as well. So his nephew Imran Khan (not the cricketer) now endorses Coca-Cola. Why the need for a new kid on the block? Methinks it’s gotta do with the fact that Aamirbhai is gradually turning into an ageing uncle (no matter that he still accepts offers from films that project him as a college student… the fact is he is all of 43 years old). And it was time to bring in a dude star that the so-called ‘Youngistan’ would connect with. Makes sense, though uncle may vehemently disagree.
'Coke khule toh baat chale' is the new thought. The commercial features Imran Khan and minor actress Kalki Koechlin (of ‘Dev D’). The setting is a very crowded bus. Flirty Kalki, who’s seated, tries to get the attention of the standing, disinterested, dude Imran. And teases him by opening and slurping from an invisible Coke bottle. (Must say the scene is shot well… Kalki’s expressions, especially after her role as a rocking prostitute in ‘Dev D’, could so easily have turned vulgar). She then offers the non-existent bottle to the very impressed dude. Who joins in the fun, and ‘drinks up’ the remaining Coke. And then comes the twist: he produces an actual Coke bottle, and offers it to the naughty gurl. (Game, set and match… aaal izzz well, dude!)
I quite like this commercial. For many reasons. I think the ‘invisible bottle’ has the potential to become a memorable device for Coke. If used well across the 360-degree media spectrum, it can be milked out to catapult Coke into the top-of-the-mind status amongst the young set (thus giving rival Pepsi a lot to sweat about this summer). The casting is good too. The extroverted Kalki and the reticent Imran contrast each other well. And in an unspoken commercial, expressions and body language play a key role, and both the actors have done wonderfully. Also, the music track, a remixed old Hindi film song, fits in nicely.
So, good riddance to the over-used uncle Aamir. And a good start to the summer. Now let’s hope the other soft drink majors come up with equally imaginative ideas. — Anil Thakraney