Fanta: Sending out 'signals' to the youth

By Khushboo Tanna , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | May 08, 2009
Fanta's new campaign aims to give youngsters a signal which will help them bunk boring social situations

Genelia D'Souza, best known as the cricket commentator in the Fair & Lovely advert of yesteryears, suddenly found herself as a youth icon with her blockbuster hit 'Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na' in 2008. Like it usually happens to overnight stars, brands flocked to her doorstep with pens in hand, ready to sign her on. As a result, D'Souza's current portfolio of brands includes Perk and Perk Poppers, Spinz (Deo and Talc), Vatika and Fanta (Apple and Orange).

The young actor, now in her 20s, joins the rung of young stars such as Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone and Imran Khan, who charge anywhere between Rs 1 crore and Rs 4 crore per endorsement deal.

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Among some of the latest ads featuring D'Souza is the latest Fanta ad, which also plays around with a new punch line. Fanta has tried to appeal to the youth since its inception in the Indian market in 1993.

Now, Fanta has launched a new campaign with actor Genelia D'Souza trying to bail out her friends from boring social situations such as a family dinner or a boring date. Her signal of choice to help her friends escape is the Fanta bottle.

The ad has been conceptualised by Ogilvy India and has been directed by Kaushik Sarkar of Apostrophe Films. The film has been shot in two days in Mumbai.

Tagline spree

The new campaign also ushers in a new tagline for Fanta: 'Fanta ka signal loud, Bunking is allowed'. Fanta has, over the years, used a number of taglines that reinforce its position as a drink for the young generation.

One of the earliest taglines adopted by Fanta was 'Masti ka apna taste', which was followed by 'Anything is possible'. Next in line was 'Bold Orange Fun', which soon gave way to 'Bajao Masti ki Ghanti.' Then, there was a statement specifically for the South Indian market, 'Freshness means Fanta'.

Fanta then sported 'Rang Le, Dil Khol Ke' for three years before moving on to 'Masti Ka Chataka'. After that, it was 'New Orangy Blast…Laga Kya?' as Fanta had made some changes in the formulation (and hence, its taste). Finally, this one has been dropped in favour of the current one on 'Bunking'.

On the frequent tagline changes, Ajay Gahlaut, group creative director, Ogilvy India, says that the core of Fanta hasn't altered: it has always been centred on fun. With the latest one in the list, the same positioning has been taken a step ahead. "The youth's idea of fun is going against the norm or going against the establishment. In their lingo, the one word that encapsulates this phenomenon is 'Bunk'," he says.

Srinivas Murthy, general manager, flavours, Coca-Cola India, justifies the new thought, saying that after Fanta Apple was launched, Coca-Cola India wanted to reinforce the core brand identity with the youth through Fanta Orange. "The insight was that the youth often feel suffocated under societal and authoritative pressures and want to occasionally break free," he adds.

Endorsement is allowed

Fanta recently roped in Genelia D'Souza to endorse both the flavours from the Fanta stable (Apple and Orange). Prior to D'Souza, South Indian actor Trisha endorsed Fanta for a year. Trisha had replaced Rani Mukherji, who had endorsed the brand for three years during 2003-06, while actor Simran endorsed the brand for the South Indian market for two years (2002-04).

The latest ad opens on the shot of a huge bottle of Fanta placed outside a canteen, behind which the mischievous D'Souza and her bunch of friends are waiting to bail out their friends from boring situations. In one instance, they walk into a restaurant as musicians to help one of their friends escape a boring date.

In another situation, during a family dinner, D'Souza, along with her friends, try to draw the family's attention by making scary shadows outside the window so that their friend can sneak out. In all these cases, the signal to her friends is the sound made by using the Fanta bottle.

The campaign will have a presence across all media such as television, print, outdoor and radio. The jingle will be leveraged on radio and there will be on-ground programmes as well.

The music has been given by R Anandh, who has given the music for the Limca ad and the Sprite Express film.

Is the signal loud enough?

afaqs! spoke to people from the industry to find out whether they heard Fanta's new signal loud and clear, or would prefer to 'bunk' the advertisement on TV.

Pinaki Bhattacharya, senior vice-president, strategic planning, Saatchi & Saatchi, shares his first reaction after seeing the ad: that youth today don't wait to be 'allowed' to bunk - they will bunk if they feel like it, whenever they feel like it. So, in a sense, the starting point itself leaves a lot to be desired. He adds that the TVC falls prey to the classic trap of finding two rhyming words to sign off - in this case, 'loud' and 'allowed'.

However, Bhattacharya adds that the positive aspect is the casting of D'Souza, as she is the current bubbly flavour in Bollywood.

Similarly, Rohit Malkani, executive creative director, Grey India, is enthused about the endorser and feels that her full of life persona in the recent hit 'Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na' shines through in the ad as well. "That's how viewers will remember her, like she's overdosed on Duracell batteries," quips Malkani.

However, he feels that some of the situations are contrived and corny, especially the dining room situation. "Somehow, I get an overriding picture of a TVC trying desperately hard to be 'happy, happy, happy', rather than be spontaneous," he says.

Malkani, though, is not sure how this 'bunking' platform can sustain the brand for long.

On the sunnier side, Anil Kakar, executive creative director, IBD, states that being young is all about throwing caution to the winds, about freedom, attitude and perhaps, even mild rebellion. "The commercial encapsulates all of these youthful qualities and connects with the youth in a unique manner," he allows.

Further, Kakar also appreciates that the ad attempts to create a brand property through a new code language among the youth with the line 'Fanta ka signal', which has "the potential for an extendable campaign idea."