Open Happiness Act 2: Imran Khan takes Coke's optimism baton further

By Devina Joshi , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising
Last updated : February 12, 2010
The second Coca-Cola Open Happiness campaign in India features Imran Khan, who now joins Aamir Khan in endorsing the brand

Last year saw Coca-Cola's long-time brand endorser, Aamir Khan 'Opening' happiness for the brand in India (Open Happiness being the global creative thought adopted by the brand a while ago). Khan, who has been endorsing Coca-Cola or Coke for over a decade, was seen as a messenger of optimism in the campaign, where a bottle of Coke brought people together in their joy.

Taking the message further this summer is Bollywood actor, Imran Khan, who now joins his uncle, Aamir Khan as an endorser for Coca-Cola. The brand's objective remains the same -- to reinforce its role as a cheery friend. However, the younger Khan's association with Coke is a step towards getting the brand closer and more identifiable to teenagers.

Anand Singh, director, marketing, colas, Coca-Cola India, tells afaqs!, "As the new campaign targets teenagers, we were looking for a teenage heartthrob that the youth look up to. Imran fits that image perfectly."

Singh adds that Imran's real-life relationship with Aamir Khan, of course, propelled the association further; in future campaigns, the duo may even be seen endorsing the brand together.

"Coca-Cola has been growing successfully and has established a strong connect with the youth. The global communication initiative is all about inviting people to welcome small moments of joy and happiness into their lives. The idea really is to pause, enjoy a bottle of Coca-Cola, and also enjoy life's simple pleasures," Singh elaborates.

The new communication takes the Open Happiness theme to the next level, by building spontaneous human connections and sharing joys even with strangers. A new punch line, 'Coke khule toh baat chale' (Coke opens up possibilities), was arrived at to further this thought.

According to a study on teenagers by Coca-Cola India, it was discovered that largely, there are two kinds of teenagers in India today -- those that are secure, confident and can take on anything; and those that feel a sense of hesitation while approaching new people and situations.

The commercial, titled 'Invisible Bottle', features Imran Khan and Kalki Koechlin of DevD fame. It shows Koechlin sitting in a crowded bus, trying to catch the attention of a hesitant standee, Imran Khan. The bolder of the two, she spots a hoarding of Coca-Cola, and once Khan looks her way, she pretends to grab the Coke bottle from the hoarding and attempts to take a sip. Then, she offers the invisible bottle to him.

Our hesitant boy plays along and pretends to down the entire bottle, and is apologetic about it. However, he wins her over by taking out a real bottle of Coke from his bag, and offering it to her, real time. As the two exchange sweet glances, the film concludes on the thought, 'Coke khule toh baat chale'.

This is Imran Khan's first ever endorsement for any brand. He first shot to fame with his debut movie, Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na in 2008.

"The latest communication is based on the spontaneous human connections between people, particularly those who are unlike each other," says Prasoon Joshi, executive chairperson (India) and regional executive creative director, McCann Erickson, Asia Pacific.

"Through the lovable device of the invisible bottle, brand Coca-Cola breaks the ice of social distance between a boy and a girl and brings them together." He also adds that the new campaign with Imran Khan is more youthful, playful and fun in nature.

The campaign, which will go on air next week, has been conceptualised by Joshi, along with Ashish Chakravarty, Tirtha Ghosh and Nakul Sharma, while the film has been directed by Dibakar Banerjee of Freshwater Films.

The campaign will be supported with mass media, as well as in-store and on-ground activities around youth hangout areas and colleges across various cities. Digital media, particularly social networking sites, will also be leveraged to generate interaction with the brand.

First Published : February 12, 2010

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