Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Cup-ple of Recycles!

Recycling is great for a greener planet but in a global internet economy, recycling ads and campaigns is not that great an idea.

About a month back, driving back from work with a couple of friends, a sea of red tail lights greeted us as usual on the Western Express Highway. A frustrated collective sigh later, the three weart travellers looked left and saw the most hilarious billboard - our first look at the Pepsi's "Change the Game" campaign. It was super funny! I mean just take a look at the visual below:

Apart from Dhoni and to some extent Virat, all the others on the billboard looked totally out of place wearing all but body paint. The ad looked like a spoof far, removed from the "in-your-face" attitude it endeavoured to convey - just look at Viru's face in the visuals. And what is Bhajji doing?!

There was a weird deja vu about the visual though. A quick google later, my hunch was confirmed - it was "glocalization" of Pepsi's FIFA World Cup ad featuring the likes of Messi, Drogba, Kaka and Henry. Check out the image below:

While the Fifa ad made sense with the football World Cup being held in Africa (with the visuals in sync with the African tradition of body painting to intimidate adversaries in battle), in sub-continental climes it really is a misfit. And what's more, Pepsi has extended this campaign to Bangladesh (as you can see in the image above)!

There is a basic cultural difference between the two games for starters - cricket (aka the gentleman's game) is known for its traditional gentle pace and "controlled aggression" (wherein the match referee will rap players on the knuckles for the slightest evidence of behaviour that "brings the game into disrepute"). The aforementioned behaviour is more the norm in football (aka the beautiful game) which is a more physical, contact sport. Thus the aggressive visuals and the body paint worked in Feb 2010. 

With a plethora of stars (or gamechangers as Pepsi claims) of the likes of KP and MSD on board, the visuals could have been more original.

However, the TV commercials for the campaign are Pepsi's saving grace - they are quite funny and in line with the innovations in the game however Saqlain was the inventor of the Doosra, wasn't he? And "Pallu Scoop"... really? That is your version of the Dilscoop, Pepsi?! But which scoop is better (I am not talking to the journalists here) - Dilshan's Pallu Scoop or Sakib's Super Scoop?

Check the TV ads below - my favourite is Slinga Malinga:

Nike seems to have taken a cue from Pepsi on more than one idea - their "Bleed Blue" campaign was going well with Virat, Zaheer and co. wearing the Team India shirt that the global giant sponsors till they suddenly followed Pepsi (must be a coincidence!) and got their models to go topless! (Virat seemed to be most at home - after all he had done it before in the Pepsi ad... and I believe his teen girl fan brigade aren't complaining!):

And check out the Zaheer ad - it is strikingly similar to the Rooney ad (they did a viral recycle of the same ad in their Write the Future ad featuring Ribery) - another recycled visual from the football World Cup?

However, all is forgiven if India wins the Cup :)

PS: I actually like the "more traditional" Adidas campaign which is (coincidentally - I guess) the namesake of the Pepsi campaign (hasn't anyone heard of IPR in this country?!) :

And you just can't go wrong with two legends of the game, can you?