Reviewer: K.S. Chakravarthy
K.S. Chakravarthy is national creative director for Draftfcb+Ulka Advertising Pvt. Ltd, the agency that created the Grand Effie-winning Tata DoCoMo campaign. Apart from his long stint in advertising, he has been a successful ad film director for several years when he was running POV Films, a film production company. Besides DoCoMo, he’s worked on brands such as Airtel, Tata Sky and DNA.
A TV spot for Coca-Cola called Shadow, featuring actor Imran Khan. The commercial opens with a young man who’s tired of unpacking his things. On the opposite wall, he sees the shadow of a man working. He also sees the shadow of a bottle of Coca-Cola perched on the table. With his hands, he creates a shadow of a bird and then a dog, and tries to nab the bottle away. Suddenly, the shadow of the owner and the bottle disappear. He comes running to the balcony and finds that the shadow was that of a girl. The girl gives him the bottle and they become friends.
What are your first thoughts on the ad?
I like it quite a lot. It’s young, cool and laid-back and it doesn’t try too hard. The set-up is simple and believable, the shadow play brings out enough of the child in you to make you ignore any silly laws of optics that could spoil your enjoyment, and they have kept it light and easy right till the end. Besides, the need for an androgynous shadow has actually resulted in interesting casting. And as is usually the case with Coke, the track adds a nice counterpoint. I think the story has been handled well—underplayed performances, just the right build-up of playfulness, a perfect track and a well-paced narrative.
Refreshing: The ad has the right build-up of playfulness.
Is Imran Khan a good fit for the Coke brand?
Imran seems a good fit for Coke. The last TVC of Coke I enjoyed watching featured him in a bus, in another bit of make-believe-turns-serious. He manages to come across as a person, not a star—something most of our filmy endorsers can’t do for the life of them. And the whole style of simple, slice-of-everyday storytelling makes for a refreshing contrast to the hard, shiny and plastic feel of Pepsi. I hope Coke continues with him and I hope he doesn’t go the way of some other stars, signing on brands indiscriminately (I saw three ads featuring Kareena Kapoor in a single ad capsule while surfing some English movie channels).
What is your all-time favourite cola ad?
A bizarre ad featuring some huge tennis star and some huge football star of the time (that’s a great ad for you—I don’t remember either of the guy’s name). The tennis player is smashing down the court and the football guy is kicking back. Finally, the footballer does this amazing bicycle kick and the ball goes straight into the net. Unfazed, he breaks into a huge celebration. The tennis guy says, “Hey buddy, I won.” To which the footballer says, “In football, when you get it in the net, it’s a goal.” Very watchable, whacked-out logic, and it’s all for the inevitable can of Pepsi.
As told to Anushree Chandran