Coca-Cola adapts international #BrotherlyLove ad for desi market

The film takes the brand’s #TasteTheFeeling thought forward.

Remember the ‘Cola Wars’ of 1990s? Back then, it used to be the order of the day. Cola advertising was about telling consumers ‘how one fizzy drink was better than the other!’. In fact, cola giants queued up a long line of the who’s who among celebrities to endorse their brand.

With the turn of the century, however, the ‘Cola War Era’ ended, quite literally, and there was peace. Since then, brands have started to touch upon the sentiments of consumers – old and young alike. Most recently, they have been trying to explore desi insights – such as ‘#CokeNawaazi‘. And now they are going a step further to depict and celebrate relationships.

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Although, Coca-Cola rolled out an India-specific campaign under the ‘#Taste the Feeling‘ umbrella, featuring Bollywood actor Sidharth Malhotra, in March 2016, the brand for the first time has come up with a concept that captures the camaraderie between siblings. However, the adorable new ad, ‘#BrotherlyLove’, released on YouTube in December 2016, is Coca-Cola’s Indian rendition of the international ad campaign which was launched on YouTube in January 2016.

Conceptualised by McCann, New Delhi, and produced by Purple Vishnu Films, the ad has been directed by Sainath Choudhury. ‘#BrotherlyLove’ captures the unique relationship shared between two brothers – a universal story of love and conflict. The film shows how a guy teases and bullies his younger sibling by not allowing him to drink Coke, until one day a gang of boys snatches away a bottle of the beverage from the younger brother. Soon, the older brother comes to his rescue and they enjoy a special moment together.

The new positioning is designed to keep the product at heart in order to reflect both the functional and emotional aspects of the Coca-Cola experience.

Interestingly, this is not the first time that any brand has recreated a hit story with local flavour. A few months back Wrigley India launched a long-format ad film, depicting a near cinematic tale of Naira and Adi. The ad ‘#StartSomethingFresh‘ was the Indian version of the Sarah and Juan Love Story, which was created with an aim to convey Doublemint’s freshness proposition and to make the brand stand for connections.

Tasty Treat?

Relationships are something that is usually viewed as a plot for jewellery/FMCG category. So afaqs! asked experts, ‘Does this work for a brand like Coke, especially with the kind of advertising history it has had in the Indian market?’

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Sameer Aasht, founder director, Alma Mater Biz Solutions, and ex-strategy head, Taproot India, feels that relationship dynamics is a universal truth and when showcased with a slice-of-life and witty incidents, make an entertaining piece to watch. “Given the emotional territories of adrenaline owned by Thums Up, and youthful irreverence of Pepsi, Coke’s approach to own fun life moments of family is a sound decision,” he says.

Aasht feels that the campaign is well shot and executed. He however adds, “While it may not change the brand’s fortunes, it will help maintain the salience, recall, and consideration scores. Inclusion of family in the backdrop beyond brothers could make the film more complete. The multiple product moments injected across the storyline make it a bit of a hard sell. But, the pranks with Coke as a prop will make the audience more forgiving of it.”

According to Mahendra Bhagat, national creative director, FCB Ulka, when you stick to the brand history, usually you end up doing predictable stuff. And, for any brand, it’s brave to push the boundaries, to experiment, to come out of the tested zone. “Keeping in mind Coca Cola’s advertising history, it does look different, and new too. It’s not your typical Coke ad,” he says.

On the execution, Bhagat adds, “The concept of relationships can trickle down in any category, provided the thought makes you relate to it at a personal level (I did!), and manages to create that little space in the viewers’ mind. With this commercial, it certainly does. Also, showcasing relationships and their peculiarities can become clichéd. Brother and sister, husband-wife, saas-bahu, girlfriend-boyfriend relationships have been shown many a time. But this is a new take in the space of family relationships. The challenge, I guess was, for them to adapt a global idea to the Indian sensibilities. To be fair, they have done a decent job. But did I find it ‘Indian’ enough is a question for another day.”

This story was originally published in Afaqs.com