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Pepsi: Wowing the 'now' generation

By Antara Ghosal , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | March 11, 2010
While keeping the brand identity of youthfulness intact, the new campaign of Pepsi takes forward the concept of Youngistaan

As its rival 'opens happiness' for its consumers, Pepsi, the flagship brand of PepsiCo, vows to 'wow' the 'now' generation. With the summer sweeping in, the soft drink major has come up with a brand new, 360-degree media campaign, 'Youngistaan Ka Wow', using multiple platforms such as TV, out-of-home, radio and digital media. While keeping the brand identity of youthfulness intact, the campaign takes forward the concept of Youngistaan.

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The campaign broke with a TVC starring Ranbir Kapoor, a bunch of outdoor innovations and a one-of-its-kind radio activation. In its pursuit of bonding better with the 'youngistaanis' by co-creating, the beverage brand created a first-of-its-kind Youngistaan anthem on radio -- a song weaving together thoughts from young India.

As part of the activation, Pepsi invited youngsters from across 23 cities to share their thoughts through interesting words, descriptions and phrases on what 'Youngistaan ka wow' means to them. As the youngsters donned the role of lyricists, popular musical duo, Vishal & Shekhar gave the anthem a catchy background score.

Commenting on the new initiative, Sandeep Singh Arora, executive vice president - marketing, cola, PepsiCo India, says, "The idea was to create a song to which youngsters can relate -- a composition that speaks their language; lyrics that echo their identity; a song that makes them go wow; and all these within a span of one day. The anthem celebrates the audacious self-belief of the youth, who are go-getters, making things happen their way."

Music composer, Vishal (of the Vishal & Shekhar duo), while talking exclusively to afaqs! says, "This is for the first time in the history of Indian music that listeners from all across have been involved in creating live music. On the day of the event, we were present at the radio station throughout the day, and were receiving live messages from the audiences. We had already composed the chorus part of the anthem, and as soon as we played it on the radio to invite audience participation, entries started pouring in."

Around 4,000 responses were received in a single day, Vishal confirms. Of these, they chose six and moulded them into a song format. He adds that while conducting the event, he enjoyed reading the mind of youngsters, who mostly spoke about peace, progress and unity.

While talking about the response generated so far, Arora confirms that the new campaign has managed to strike a chord with youngsters, who participated in huge numbers and provided interesting, attention-grabbing and whacky responses.

A 45-second television commercial, which has been released alongside, shows how youth icon Ranbir Kapoor acts smart to get the last bottle of Pepsi. Kapoor plays the role of a butler, who eyes a bottle of Pepsi, which he has to serve to the president of a country. He tricks the security officers by shaking the drink in a suspicious manner, as if he is mixing something in it. Alarmed at his move, the officer asks him to drink it himself first. Kapoor gulps down the entire bottle and walks away. The VO follows, 'Youngistaan ka Wow'.

Explaining the creative concept, Soumitra Karnik, executive creative director, JWT says, "At a time when other brands are talking about the characteristics of the 'now' generation -- that they are impatient, restless etc -- we thought of highlighting their smart moves, the route that they take to achieve their goals. Also, the word 'wow' has been used deliberately, keeping in mind the magic associated with it, which cuts across youngsters of all places and times."

Hari Krishnan, executive business director, JWT Delhi feels that it was high time to take the Youngistaan concept forward, and to add a fresh lease of life to it. However, he believes that the true success of the campaign can only be defined, if like the last campaign of Pepsi, where 'Youngistaan' got into people's vocabulary, 'wow' too becomes part of their speech.

However, the creative team at JWT opines that the part of the campaign released so far is just the tip of the iceberg. More surprises in terms of creative content are on the way. "The best is yet to come from the Youngistaan ka Wow campaign," they conclude.