New Delhi: PepsiCo’s sports drink Gatorade’s special digital campaign for Teacher’s Day, “I hate my teacher", highlights how a coach chooses to toughen up his trainee, putting her through a gruelling training regime. The film talks about moments of pain and pressure in students’ lives when they hated their teachers for being strict, failing to see the intent behind their toughness.

Made by advertising agency J Walter Thompson (JWT) India, the minute-long film opens with ace shuttler P.V. Sindhu, who claims that she hates her teacher as he’s the reason for her scars as the camera focuses on her bruises. The rest of the film too showcases the badminton player being pushed harder by her coach and mentor Pullela Gopichand, who will not settle with an average performance. He is shown training her day in and day out until she manages to give her best performance eventually bagging a medal. The campaign ends with a message that Gatorade salutes those who teach us to sweat more.

“This Teacher’s Day, we want to bring alive the crucial love-hate relationship with the mentors, guides, trainers and teachers who have pushed us to succeed. Authenticity has become the bedrock of consumer sentiment and as an ode to teachers we couldn’t have found a better story to tell than that of our brand ambassador P.V. Sindhu," said Vipul Prakash, senior vice president – beverage category, PepsiCo India.

The film is being promoted across digital as well as social media platforms of the brand. Uploaded on 3 September, it has garnered over 500,000 views on the brand’s YouTube channel, while on Facebook, it has received over 2.1 million views so far.

“The relationship between a coach and an athlete is not always a rosy and picture-perfect one. There are intense emotions like hate involved too. We wanted to bring out the good and raw and what better way to do it but through the authentic story of P.V. Sindhu and Pullela Gopichand. This is an ode from Sindhu to Gopi in its rawest, purest form," said Senthil Kumar, chief creative officer, JWT India.

PepsiCo launched Gatorade in India in 2004 and Sindhu is the first Indian to endorse the brand in India.

Manish Bhatt, founder-director at advertising agency Scarecrow Communications, said the idea of the campaign is brilliant, which is beautifully portrayed by Sindhu and Gopichand. However, he found the execution a dampener. “The execution is loud especially the background score and the narration. There’s melodrama and screaming which makes the film unrealistic. Although it features real people, the element of authenticity is missing," he said.

Bhatt said that the theme of sports has always been leveraged to create thought-provoking work. According to him, sportswear brand Adidas’s “Odds" campaign, featuring a blade runner, was one such campaign which brought out the spirit of grit and determination.

Joono Simon, founder and chief creative officer at Brave New World Communications, said that a teacher-student relationship is based on trust, which has been brought out in this commercial. But he found Sindhu’s rhetoric of “hate" jarring. “Contrary to the public image of Gopichand, the vocal portrayal in this film characterises him as a brutal and punishing personality (like Terence Fletcher in the movie Whiplash), and makes him seem like the kind of person that one would truly hate to have as a mentor," he said.

Simon, however, added that it was possible to argue that he (Gopichand) assumes a different personality as a mentor (like that which we see in the film), one which is known only to his students. “It’s a good effort as anyone with a strict coach will identify with this film," he said.

Close