Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cricket, Coke and Changing The Game

I've been meaning to write for a quite a while now but it just hasn't been happening even though everyone keeps asking me to. Maybe its just that now that the exams are done, I don't have anything to bitch about. Oh, no that's not true.

The new Coke ad- Like what the hell were you guys thinking? Are you absolutely out of your mind? You follow up the Shadow ad which was very Strange Love-esque with this? This? Really? I mean I love Imran and detest Ranbir (Sorry Cookie, he is hot, but he's a cheat and they aren't my type) but I can't help liking the Pepsi Change the Game ad campaign so much more. Even though I cannot stand Pepsi and will NOT drink it. But the campaign, you have to agree is fantastic.

The Cricket World Cup is here and like every other soul in this cricket loving, crazy and obsessed nation I too breathe, eat, and sleep cricket. Truly it is the cup that counts. I love the nail biting games, the start-to-finish gripping your seat, closing your eyes, and feverently praying games. But what’s also fascinating is the kind of phenomenon it has become, especially when it comes to advertising. Even the advertising industry is so united at this time. Every ad, every product and service irrespective of what the product is, either features cricketers if they can afford it, or focuses on a cricket theme. Suddenly everything has a connection to this game- Be it obvious products like shoes and televisions or the unusual pizzas, telecommunication services, cements or even bathrooms.  [Parryware- Wow what a bathroom. I swear. I never said the ads were good of course. This one is just ridiculous.]

Some companies go to the extent of even changing their tagline for this cricket season- Tata Sky Plus substitutes the word cricket for life in its tagline, but after all when it comes to India they are synonyms right? Sony Bravia has modeled a campaign based on “The Incredible Game” but the one campaign that does make you sit up and take notice is the Pepsi- Change the Game.

A series of 7 ads with world class cricketers including five Indian players- Mahendra Singh Dhoni,Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, Virat Kohli, and Suresh Raina. It’s an eyeball grabbing campaign, and extremely heartwarming because it talks about the hope of a billion souls and it happens to be so extremely catchy. What’s more is that the ads are extremely Indian, true to the flavor that makes us who we are. Whether it’s the helicopter shot with MSD or the Switch hit with Kevin Pietersen, or Ranbir Kapoor teaching Virender Sehwag, the central theme is that of the common man- the average Indian, being such a huge part of this significant game. The campaign changed the game and how, setting a benchmark in Indian advertising. (Just as a point because I can't not say this- RK, like really first of all your name is like a take on the most amazing person alive- SRK, so stop copying his hairstyle. Because that supposedly cool pony you sport in the ad was something SRK did long ago with Don. So really, stop acting off screen and do something that's worth talking about apart from your many low battery "conquests".) So anyway I don't quite know if Coke did what it did, out of desperation, or because just like everyone, they've lost it. I'm praying its a phase because I cannot wait for this ad to be pulled out.

Second best of course is Airtel because they have the afore mentioned amazing person- SRK. Simple, to the point, endearing, heartwrenchingly good looks, and that dimple. Who cares what the storyline is? But they do have one, and a good one at that. Because before we had alerts on phones, and internet on our fingertips and all of that the only thing we'd ask every single person who had a chance of knowing was the score. Because like the ad says- There is only one question. And I know I'm talking about the World Cup here but the Airtel-BB ad is just simply too good too. And no, I'm not just saying this because I love my BB now and i'm texting 24X7 and therefore end up promoting the BB every minute that I'm awake but because it really is a great ad.

But the best undoubtedly is Vodafone. The Vodafone Zoozoos are back! The teasers featured people going crazy, fighting over what they saw. Bird or Plane? Fact or Fiction? Alien or UFO? Dream or Reality? And I for one couldn't wait to know. The Zoozoos not only are absolutely original and endearing, but they also happen to have some of the best storylines in advertising. And this, this was so totally worth the long wait, the intrdoduction of Vodafone 3G as a superhero- changing in a phone booth, saving the world, swooping out of the atmosphere, stopping trains, solving complex Maths (Calculus in all probability), racing a bullet ala Rajnikanth, working out and charming his girl all in a matter of minutes was just mindblowingly good. They got the script right, the music is outstanding and the Zoozoos as usual are not annoying but rather extremely heartbreakingly fantastic.

This ad, this ad makes going to college at 8am because Telangana decides to have a half day bandh- 1-4 completely okay. This ad just brightens up my day somehow. And all of a sudden, very much like in the ad, all is right with the world again. So maybe they really are superheroes. :)

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