Brand Recall: The Latest Pepsi Ad Campaign

22 March 2011

You are sitting in front of you television, your eyes glued to India’s crucial cricket match.
Sehwag is on strike and you want him to go on rampage with his fearless batting style. 
The bowler balls a short ball outside off stump, and Sehwag in his typical style cuts the ball in the air.
The stadium goes crazy, as the ball goes above the third man on the fence for a SIX !
The first fleeting thought in your mind - “THE UPAR CUT!” 
Probably a bottle of chilled Pepsi would follow it.


Come World cup … India is on fire!  The “Super bowl of India “witnesses a new surge of ad campaigns especially made for the season.  The cricketing season brings together millions of viewers, hooked on to the live matches, making it the perfect pitch for the ad makers.  The companies and the advertisement agencies start working on their campaigns months in advance…. all for those perfect 10 seconders.

The World Cup 2011 has reportedly attracted more than $150 million in advertising revenue so far. That is nearly 50% more than the last season. While an average TV advertisement would cost around Rs 1-1.5 lakh for a 10-second commercial, during the World Cup it could easily reach a hefty Rs 3.5 lakhs.

With that kind of money at stake ad makers leave no stone unturned to get a good number of eyeballs every season. The World Cup traditionally portrays the battle of the big daddies – The Colas. We all know of their legendary ad campaigns especially –the “Nothing Official about it” by Pepsi during the 1996 World Cup season.  This campaign had such brilliance that it stole away the entire limelight from Coca Cola which “not incidentally” was the official partner of World Cup ‘96.

Over these long years the entire business of Pepsi was being handled by JWT. This time around however, Pepsi had ended this exclusive relationship and given the World Cup campaign to “Taproot India”. Every single Indian would have seen the new ad campaign from Pepsi. This one is called “Change the game”. This advertisement highlights the signature innovative shots of the cricket players – Helicopter Shot, Upar Cut, Doosra.  Featuring Dhoni, Virender Sehwag, Ranbir Kapoor – Pepsi has stuck to the core of their communication – Youth. “Change the Game” highlights the innovation and freshness brought about by these young players into the game.

But the one USP which lets this campaign significantly distinguish itself from rest is the marketing concept that has been planned and well executed by the Taproot’s Creative team in Brand recall.   They have fitted this concept in a very beautiful way into the whole campaign. These shots too have been very carefully selected and related to by the creative team. Think what happens after the viewers have been exposed to these TV ads.  

Every time Dhoni hits the ball for a six on off side, your mind would say “Oh the Helicopter Shot!” Every time Bhajji bowls a Doosra and gets a wicket; you will probably have a brand recall towards Pepsi. Note that the probability of Sehwag hitting an upper cut or Dhoni hitting a helicopter shot is very high (We would say 100% even if they score in double digits ) in a match. Same goes with Harbhajan bowling his signature Doosra.

The new agency and the brand have done a wonderful job on the campaign. This ad campaign is a great example of imbibing the Brand Recall concept while creating it. We would surely love to read the brief of this entire campaign along with the brilliant creative team. Full Marks to all of them! We all hope to see a lot of “Upper Cuts” and “Helicopter Shots” in next India match and win the world cup.
Cheers to Pepsi on that!

[The article has been contributed by Amandeep Singh & Anindita Sharma. They both completed their MBA specializing in Marketing in the year 2010 from IFMR, Chennai and are currently working with TCS in New Delhi and Chennai respectively. Their blog  Fresh Marketing Ideas was started during their MBA days when they both wanted to be hired by a leading Marketing Firm. They started ( and still continue ) to generate ideas for various brands and the result was this blog. They can be reached on twitter @standbymind & @greengoddessz ]


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