Sucheta Dalal :Sprite: Seedhi baat loses steam
Sucheta Dalal

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Sprite: Seedhi baat loses steam  

May 7, 2010

 One good thing Sprite has done for some years now is to mock at all the nonsense that cold drink ads promise. Everyone knows a cold drink is nothing more than sweetened, flavoured, aerated water, so why create fables around each brand?
Its ‘Seedhi Baat No Bakwaas’ campaign was born out of that concept. And it has served the brand quite well. Not just because younger consumers connect with that thought, but the execution of the idea has been almost always superb. The ads invariably feature two pals. One slim and good-looking, and the other obese and over-smart. Mr Obese Boy tries to impress people, especially women, with silly antics and fails miserably. But Mr Slim Boy only offers thirsty and parched folks some Sprite, and has the last laugh (and the babe). Simple idea and its power lies in that simplicity of thought.
However, this route has been on air for a long time now, and a degree of predictability has set in. In order to inject some freshness into the campaign, for their new TVC, Coca Cola, the makers of Sprite, have taken the lads out of the urban setting, and have landed them into a deep forest where they run into some cannibalisque African tribals. Mr Obese Boy tries to pally up with the angsty chieftain, by attempting to ape the mannerisms of the locals. And he only manages to piss him off. Mr Slim Boy does what he does best: he offers Sprite to the chieftain, who soon cools down, and in turn offers a couple of tribal chicks to the boy as prize, as Mr Obese Boy gets readied to be cooked.
Funny? Well, okay, if you insist. Refreshing? Naaah! I think Sprite is overdoing what began as a good brand property. The Obese Boy-Slim Boy gag has run out of steam. Taking them out of the concrete jungles and flying them into real ones makes little difference. As the joke is the same, the plot is the same, the boys are the same, I think the ad agency in this case has gone lazy, and is perhaps not accepting that all good things come with an expiry date. And what is now needed is a totally new idea, even if it’s still embedded in the ‘Seedhi Baat No Bakwaas’ shell. And they need to do it fast before the brand tires out in the consumers’ minds.
Hopefully, at their next meeting, if the ad agency guys again land up with another boy gag, the client will say to them: “Seedhi Baat No Bakwaas. Clear hai?”— Anil Thakraney


-- Sucheta Dalal