afaqs!

Thums Up: Twin Spideys in a race for their thunder

By Neha Kalra , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | March 03, 2009
The latest TVC for Thums Up features the brand ambassador, Akshay Kumar in a double role for the first time - two contrasting Akshays, who can't keep their feet on the ground, Spiderman style. afaqs! observes what it was like for the 'duo'

As if one Akshay wasn't enough to fight his way through busy streets for his thunder, we now have two of them. So, 'two Thums Up', shall we say?

In the new ad for Thums Up, the 'macho' cola drink from the Coca-Cola stable, its brand ambassador for the last seven years - Akshay Kumar - is seen in a double role for the first time. Apart from that, the brand's logo has also been revamped.

The film opens on the twin Akshays finishing their respective Thums Up, and planning to get more, with an additional condition: get the Thums Up, without touching the ground. In Spiderman style, both are seen racing over rooftops of houses and moving vehicles, in buses, and through a room where a painting class is being held. Both of them finally end up atop crates carrying the drink. One says to the other, "Mazaa aa gaya (It was fun)!" The other replies, "Mazaa toh ab aayega (The fun is about to begin now)!" The film closes with a shot of the duo sitting on the crates, merrily swinging their feet, with a shot of the new logo, while the signature tagline goes, 'Taste the Thunder'.

& #BANNER1 & #The creative thumb

The creative agency on the film is Leo Burnett, Delhi, which has been handling the brand for 13 years now. Sainath Saraban, executive creative director, Leo Burnett, is sure of the concept that he and his team need to bring out each time. "It's got to be thrilling, like a roller-coaster ride. However, this time, it's not a deathbed chase for the drink, like it has been in the previous two films," he tells afaqs!.

This time, it's just a game, where both of them understand that it's not an easy task to lay hands on a Thums Up bottle. "So, the premise is, 'Let the chase be worth it'. This stems essentially from the product, which is an unmatched, full-bodied cola," he continues.

On using Akshay Kumar in a double role, he says, "A Thums Up drinker can compete only with an equal - another Thums Up drinker. So, we thought, why not another Akshay himself?"

Kashmira Chadha, director, marketing, Coca Cola India, reiterates that the brand has stood for masculinity and adventure all along. "With time, we have only contemporised the thought process," she says.

From the lighthouse communication in 2006 (and the desert communication before that), the Parker and Yamakazi sport in 2007 and the Crash communication in 2008, Thums Up has deliberately associated with subjects of masculinity. "This time, it's about adding a layer of fun and playfulness, but that too, within the masculinity realm," adds Chadha.

The fast-paced film has been shot in Sydney over a period of four days. Post production took about 10 days. Ram Sampat has given the music for the film - this is the third Thums Up film in a row for which he has given his music. The stunts have been put together by Australian based production company, Luscious International.

About the brand et al

The brand's logo has received a touch-up in terms of the change in the thumb unit, after a long period of 12 years. Background colours, however, have been switched from time to time, as per needs. Chadha reveals that it is not a revolutionary change in the logo. "It's only simpler and cleaner now," she says.

The tagline for the brand, Taste the Thunder, has been in currency for 20 years, and isn't likely to change. For a brief time in the mid-90s, the brand switched to 'I want my Thunder', but that didn't go down well with its loyalists. As a result, 'Taste the Thunder' remains in vogue.

Akshay Kumar has been the face of the brand since 2002. Prior to that, actor Salman Khan was onboard for two years (1999 - 2001). Sunil Shetty, too, endorsed the brand for a year (1999 - 2000).

Thumbs up for Thums Up?

afaqs! spoke to some industry experts to get their views on the latest attempt by brand Thums Up.

Talking about the creative, Nima Namchu, executive creative director, Contract Advertising, feels that if Thums Up is "a bottle full of thrills", this is a competent, but predictable script. "The brand seems to have got caught in the trap of - What's the next big stunt?" he states.

To him, in the early 90s, the brand was all brawn. In the late 90s, it lost the brawn and brought in thrills plus intelligence. The creative idea - 'I will do anything for a bottle of Thums Up' - was arrived at and the bungee-jumping film revolved around that. "Unfortunately, now it appears to have been reduced to just beating the stunt of the day," Namchu says.

Vikram Dhaliwal, senior planning director, Bates 141, Delhi takes a look at the strategic insight of the film. "Thums Up has always been about a highly glorified, desirable world of masculinity that every youngster seeks. This comes from the characteristics of the product itself - which is a harder, less sweetened, more raw cola, as compared to the almost toned-down nature of its competitors," he says.

Both give a thumbs-up to Akshay Kumar. Dhaliwal adds, "Since he has come onboard, the brand has started to look more cohesive in its actions."

Kumar's training in martial arts and his raw, rugged looks, have obviously upped the coolness and macho quotient of the brand, making "suspension of disbelief" possible, Dhaliwal concludes.