Sucheta Dalal :Pepsi: Bland bland bland
Sucheta Dalal

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Pepsi: Bland, bland, bland  

March 15, 2010

With the hot, hot summer on, one was looking forward to some cool, cool cola wars on the tube. And after Coke fired the first salvo with the superb bus commercial featuring film actors Imran Khan and Kalki Koechlin (discussed earlier in this space), Pepsi’s response was eagerly awaited.


Well, they have replied. And not only have they blinked, they have gone bland too—Pepsi’s summer commercial sucks, big-time. 'Youngistan Ka Wow' is the new tagline for Pepsi. Guess Youngistan is not enough anymore for the restless Gen X, their dil maange a lot more. They want ‘wow’ as well.
So that’s cool. The commercial features actor Ranbir Kapoor, who plays the role of a smart-alec butler. He has been ordered to serve Pepsi to the president of a nation (wow, didn’t know presidents of nations sip Pepsi… unless of course in combo with a large peg of rum). Now the thirsty butler deliberately plays around with the Pepsi bottle, to arouse suspicion.

And the ploy works. The Nazi-like security dudes, watching him on CCTV, get angsty, and fall for the trick. (Conveniently forgetting that the days of poisoning heads of states ended with Caesar & Cleopatra… these days assassins simply trot in with guns and grenades). Anyways, they order Butler Kapoor to take a sip first. And yes, the actor gulps down the whole bottle, as you can predict. And no, he doesn’t blow up. Thank you very much.


An extremely witless, silly and dull commercial. It’s neither smart nor funny nor cool. The new ‘wow’ factor hasn’t been utilised at all, and even their old ‘Youngistan’ idea dies at the hands of a very juvenile advert. Something is seriously going wrong with the Pepsi camp; they seem to have totally lost their earlier spark. It’s been years since they came up with the fabulous ‘Nothing official about it’ idea, and since then Pepsi has been releasing one disastrous commercial after another.
Thus leaving the field wide open for Coke to have a free run. Wonder what the problem is. I know it’s not polite to state this, but if the current team has lost the fizz and has gotten into a serious creative rut, then it’s a case of appointing a new brand manager and a new ad agency. Pepsi is too funky a brand to be left at the hands of mediocre thinkers.


Anyways, the bad news for us viewers is that there shan’t be any cola wars. Even the detergent wars got killed by the courts. So not much fun in watching ads this season. But then, the IPL is back, and with that the hysterical Vodafone Zoozoos. So all’s not lost!    Anil Thakraney


-- Sucheta Dalal