Coke gets real to boost drinking of ‘thanda’ in ‘thandi’

07 Jan,2013

By Rajiv Singh


Coke’s New Year resolution, it would seem, is to go ‘crazy’ in its quest to spread happiness. The beverages major last Thursday rolled out its latest TV commercial for India, its second successive winter campaign in the country; but, for the first time, it features real-life characters.


Conceptualized by McCann Erickson, the campaign titled ‘Crazy for Happiness’ showcases people who are committed to doing good deeds. It is an extension of Coke’s ‘Ummeed wali dhoop, sunshine waali aasha’ campaign that rolled out in December 2011, exhorting people to believe in a better tomorrow.


The TVC has a teenage singer from Indore who has been performing stage shows across the country to collect money for treating sick children.


She is followed by a Mumbai lad who loves stray dogs, and spends a chunk of his salary to feed over 30 dogs every day.


Prasoon Joshi

“Coke has always been called the Real Thing,” says Prasoon Joshi, CEO and chief creative officer of McCann World Group India. So, it’s no surprise that it has used real-life characters, he adds. “When the values of helping and being kind have taken a backseat, why not celebrate being nice to each other,” he says, explaining the theme of the campaign.


Not only is Coke determined to make people happy, it also appears keen to improve their lives. In today’s world, people have become more insular and self-focused, says Anupama Ahluwalia, vice president, marketing, Coca-Cola India & South West Asia. “The ‘I’ has stopped caring for the ‘WE’ and doing something good for a stranger is often considered crazy,” she points out.


But why has Coke chosen the chill of winter – the ad hit the small screen a day after New Delhi recorded its coldest day in decades – to drive home its altruistic messages? After all, traditionally it’s the onset of summer that sets the cola majors into overdrive with fresh war chests and mint-new campaigns.


“It’s not about seasonality anymore,” contends Ms Ahluwalia. “With changing lifestyles, consumption of cola happens round the year, and we have been looking at various occasions for connecting with the consumers.” She, however, refuses to divulge the sales figures for Coke during winters.


Marketing experts agree that the new campaign could be a deliberate attempt to de-seasonalize the brand and give it a distinct brand personality.


While the ‘Open Happiness’ ads effectively set the stage in this context, the latest campaign infuses life into the brand by way of giving it a distinct personality, says Smitha Sarma Ranganathan, a brand communication specialist who teaches marketing management at IBS Bangalore. “After all, every brand is a story and every story needs a well-defined stage and attractive characters that come alive with every narration,” she adds.


Analysts say typically 40% of cola consumption in India happens during summer, and the rest takes place during the festive season, starting with Diwali.


With per capita consumption of Coca-Cola beverages in India at 12 servings a year, as compared to 403 in US, the Atlanta, Georgia-headquartered beverages maker has been trying to create occasions to push its brands and, in the process, close the gap with arch rival Pepsi, say marketing experts.


The ‘Coke and meals campaign’, which talks about happiness around mealtimes, is one of the ways in which the brand is trying to do a Cadbury – which has its ‘kuch meetha ho jaaye’ slogan – and encourage consumption on virtually every occasion, says Subrata Chakraborty, a Delhi-based brand expert and head of ad agency Brand Curry.


Source:The Economic Times

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