Home >Industry >Media >Pepsi celebrates singlehood with Salman Khan campaign ahead of Valentine’s Day
Bollywood actor Salman Khan waves at his fans in Mumbai,  (PTI)
Bollywood actor Salman Khan waves at his fans in Mumbai, (PTI)

Pepsi celebrates singlehood with Salman Khan campaign ahead of Valentine’s Day

  • The two-minute anthem hinges on Khan’s single status in the run-up to Valentine’s Day later this week

NEW DELHI : While the rest of the world prepares to celebrate the idea of being in love, superstar Salman Khan tells his fans it’s equally cool to be single. Packaged food and beverage maker PepsiCo, that roped in the Bollywood actor as the new face of its flagship Pepsi brand of carbonated beverage in India last December, has launched a new anthem titled SWAG SE SOLO.

The two-minute anthem hinges on Khan’s single status in the run-up to Valentine’s Day later this week, and features choreographer Remo D’Souze with him to tell the world it’s perfectly fine to not have a partner. Produced in association with music label T-Series, it also incorporates a rehash of popular Hindi film number Mujhe nau lakha manga de re.

“I have a good feeling about SWAG SE SOLO, given the anthem is relatable to me, and to the generation of today, that is extremely confident, has the right attitude and doesn’t shy away from being who they really are," Khan said in a statement.

A Pepsi spokesperson said the company is excited to bring a unique twist to what is traditionally seen as a week of celebrating couples.

“We want to rejoice the youth of today with music and urge all those who are single to embrace their relationship status with self-confidence, unshakeable self-belief and irrefutable swag," the person said.

The anthem film, which shows Salman Khan jiving with a clutch of young foreign female models, continues with the “swag" theme seen in Pepsi’s earlier campaigns. However, advertising professionals say they feel little connect between the 54-year-old actor and cola brand Pepsi.

“The Cola language is typically young and with-it but Pepsi has aged with this creative, Also, Valentine's Day is also a young thing. Making it sync with the macho persona of a Salman Khan is a bit of a stretch," said Harish Bijoor, brand strategy specialist and founder, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc. “The brand seems to be forcing the persona of a Salman onto itself rather than the other way around," Bijoor added.

Naresh Gupta, strategy head and managing partner at advertising agency Bang in the Middle said it’s hard to tell whether this is an ad or a movie integration by Pepsi. “Maybe that’s the new world where the boundaries between the two have started to blur," Gupta said.

To be sure, the association with Khan had come as a surprise for Pepsi loyalists given that the brand has always been known for its youthful irreverence. In 2008, Pepsi found Shah Rukh Khan, then 43, too old for the brand and did not renew his contract. It had also dropped Sachin Tendulkar at the age of 35. So, signing up Khan was particularly perplexing. Also, Khan, a polarizing figure, has had several brushes with the law, while Pepsi, is considered a unifying force. It stands for equality, say experts.

(Suneera Tandon contributed to this story)

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