Emmanuel Upputuru, national creative director for Publicis India, has spent around 12 years in advertising and has worked with brands such as Shell, Dabur, Kawasaki, Nokia, Mother Dairy, Gillette, Limca, Sprite, Motorola, Maruti and American Express Bank.
Get creative: Upputuru.
The new campaign for Sprite shows the characters walking through a jungle when they are accosted by tribals. As usual, the Seedhi baat works, with the hero offering the tribal chief some Sprite. Needless to say, Sprite saves the day.
What did you think of the ads?
It’s one more spot on television. It’s one more film that opens on tribals in a jungle playing around with city folks. The tribals wear some scary costumes. Cut to some drama. Cut to the brand saves the hero from their clutches. Cut to dancing. Cut to logo of the brand and baseline. Cut to the next commercial.
Off the mark: But the big fellow’s dancing is memorable.
I feel there was no need to go the jungle (way). There are so many interesting things happening in today’s life. So why borrow from a clichéd location and storyline? And that too for a brand like Sprite. Having said all that, what I remember of the film is the main cast: the big fellow’s dancing.
Do you think this campaign matches up to the previous ‘Seedhi Baat, No Bakwaas’ campaigns?
Sprite has built its brand on the 1990s campaign Sprite Bhujaye Pyaas, Baki All Bakwaas done by Shiven Surendranath and his team. People still remember them. And I feel nothing, including some done by this reviewer (three spots with and on Sania Mirza and the questions people keep asking her and a spoof on the Pepsi TV campaign), lives up to those original ones.
What are the biggest challenges while working on a brand like Sprite?
The challenge is obviously the great advertising done in the past. Having chosen this strategy it boils down to basically how seriously you take the nonsensical approach. And how well you walk the thin line between selling a soft drink and selling a philosophy. And when you have international benchmarks, it becomes either easy or tough. For example, the television commercials done in Latin America are simply brilliant and award-winning.
Who do you think has done the job perfectly in this category?
I see there are two categories: One is the product category and here you compete with soft drinks. I quite like the new Limca film. I like the LMN spots selling on thirst.
And the other category would be the kind of message you are selling: no-nonsense. John Smith’s Beer is a brand which uses a similar kind of humour, but does it beautifully. The characters are pretty straightforward (seedhi baat?) and the humour is quite understated.
As told to Gouri Shah.