REVIEWER: PRAHLAD KAKAR
He calls himself an ex-Pepsi film-maker,?and spends much of his time fending off criticism for bad ads he hasn’t created. He is also the founder of Genesis Film Production Pvt. Ltd, which created the Pepsi commercial featuring actors Aamir Khan, Aishwarya Rai and Mahima Chaudhary.
Playing it safe: Pepsi’s latest ad campaign has been shot in Kerala.
The latest ad for Pepsi’s “My can” featuring cricketers such as M.S. Dhoni, Virender Sehwag, Ishant Sharma, Robin Uthappa and Praveen Kumar shows them slugging it out over an impromptu cricket match, in the backwaters of Kerala. The young locals who challenge them to it manage to get away with the prize—a boat full of Pepsi cans.
What did you think of the new Pepsi commercial?
It’s been a long time since Pepsi actually got it right. The ad has great production value, it has been shot in a decent location and starts out with great promise, but only to fizzle out as a predictable joke, which makes people say “Oh no! Not again!” It’s a good thought, and people are likely to identify with the ad. Now that they’ve gone and lost the Champion’s Trophy and they get their Pepsi cans taken away, people are going to think, “Serves you bloody right!”
Pepsi was known for its iconic advertising. What went wrong?
Till about 10 years ago, Pepsi was doing some truly iconic work but then...they lost the plot and started coming up with the most drivel-y advertising. They got all these stars and all they could come up with was “Yeh hai Youngistaan meri jaan (This is Youngistaan, my dear)”. The?campaign?smacks of how old people would be thrilled to be called young, while young people are left slightly confused. I think they’re oblivious to all of this, because sales have gone up. But to derive that this growth is a function of good advertising would be crazy.
Ad guru: Prahlad Kakar. Hindustan Times
For Pepsi globally, the agency and the client were known to take risks. (B)ut in India they...play very safe.
What was special about your Aamir Khan ad for Pepsi?
It spawned a whole series of young, fun, anti-establishment ads with great scripts. We also managed to get the casting right. Aamir was really big after Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak . In fact, we fought with Pepsi for Aamir, a Rs17 lakh endorsement fee was unheard of in those days. And for the first time we were seeing a different form of testimonial, which went beyond “Hi! I’m Aamir Khan and I drink Pepsi!”
When it comes to cola advertising in India,?who gets it right?
Thums Up has created a niche for themselves, which is action, and they have a fantastic celebrity endorser in Akshay Kumar. The latest?ad with him in a bashed up BMW is a hoot.
As told to Gouri Shah