It's increasingly getting to be an India that is losing the ability to laugh at the society that we live in - warts and all.
I don't get it; there are people objecting to a wonderful ad for Pepsi by JWT India.
In case you haven't seen it (which world are you living in?), here's the story in a nutshell.
Students at an educational institute are on strike - a hunger strike. News television channels rush there, and a correspondent speaks to the spokesperson of the protestors. The spokesperson insists that the hunger strike would carry on till their demands are met.
Meanwhile, one of the protestors notices a bottle of Pepsi in a pocket of a haversack. He looks at it; cut to the protestor drinking from the bottle. The correspondent shifts her eyes from the spokesman to the Pepsi-drinking protestor. The spokesperson follows her movement, chagrined to notice his colleague drinking Pepsi. Suddenly, the Pepsi-drinker realises the import of that he has done. Obviously, everyone wants to know what happened to break his resolve and break the hunger strike.
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"Pepsi thi, pi gaya," the Pepsi-drinker says in all honesty.
What's there not to like about this TVC? There seems to be a lot. Take a look at some of the gems of criticism from Twitter
— Socialist Coconut (@Soc_Coconut) October 15, 2015
It needs a great amount of imagination to smell a 'corporate conspiracy' to trivialise the protests in this ad.
— vaibhav saini (@vaibhavsaini) October 15, 2015
Dear Vaibhav, the whole objective of any ad is to grab eyeballs. Pepsi's got your eyeballs. And your goat.
Anyway, enough of giving these protestors their five minutes in the sun. Perhaps they should have a Pepsi.
It seems it's wrong for ads to take a swipe at the happenings in the world around us and that everything and everybody is a holy cow.
The ad rides, unabashedly, on the current fracas at the FTII. Upset students. Rigid authorities. Hunger Strike. Remember?
Is the ad being unjust and unfair to the FTII cause and others in the same vein? Only if you're living in la-la land. All that ad does is to take advantage of a news-making headline (the FTII hunger strike) and give it a twist.
Will this ad encourage hunger-strikers to be strayed by temptation and let down their causes? Give me a break.
This would happen only if the commitment to the cause was wafer-thin in the first place.
Then again, showing one person giving into the temptation of Pepsi doesn't amount to questioning the intent and commitment of the protestors. You may have noticed that the ad also shows the spokesperson and the rest of the protesters looking suitably annoyed at the person who drank off a Pepsi bottle.
For me, this is a fresh and welcome take for Pepsi, moving far, far away from their Bollywood casted scripts - and of which are glitzy and shiny and well-produced, but, sadly, short on insight.
In a way, this is Pepsi's Amul moment.
With the success of this TVC, (and it will succeed), JWT's creative heads would be poring over the newspaper headlines and boosting prime time news TV's woefully low viewership numbers for inspiration for their next ad.
And it could come from anywhere. Headline thi, ad banaya...
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