Sprite explores greener pastures in a forest

By Antara Ghosal , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | May 05, 2010
In the new campaign for the clear drink brand, the Sprite boys move away from the hustle and bustle of city life, to a forest inhabited by African tribals

Seedhi Baat, No Bakwaas… Let's come to the point without much ado. Sprite, the clear drink from Coca-Cola India, in its new campaign, takes the Sprite boys away from the madding crowd, to a dense forest inhabited by African tribals.

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The latest commercial, conceptualized by Ogilvy India, explores a new storyline in a new setting. The over-smart character (Kaavin Dave) tries to befriend a forbidding tribal chief and his group in a forest, by trying to show that he could act like them. He only succeeds in outraging the natives, and in the process, makes a complete fool of himself. The Sprite guy (Namit Das), on the other hand, nonchalantly offers the tribal chief a Sprite and wins his acceptance.

The film signs off with the Sprite guy being treated like royalty; while his friend, yet again, finds himself in a down-and-out position.

The campaign aims to reinforce Sprite's straightforward and unpretentious attitude in a cheeky, irreverent manner. The 40-second TVC comes with two 10-second ones, which take the jungle story forward.

While explaining the creative concept, Ajay Gahlaut, group creative head, Ogilvy Delhi says, "This is just an extension of the earlier campaign. The central idea remains the same, but a new storyline is explored in a different kind of setting. Unlike the previous campaigns, here, the characters do not speak about the product; the bottle of Sprite becomes the 'seedhi baat' in itself."

The idea, adds a Coca-Cola India spokesperson, is to depict a world where cutting to the chase in a quick-witted, straightforward manner gets you to your goals. This gets rendered through a series of situations, where the 'seedhi baat' gets you there, while the 'bakwaas' gets you nowhere.

"We continued with our creative strategy, based on the insight that the youth of today want to peel off the pretense and cut right to the chase. They have no time for nonsense and want to get to their goals now. This is delivered through Sprite's 'Seedhi Baat, No Bakwaas' creative route," he explains.

About setting the TVC all the way in a jungle, he adds that the idea was to expand the world of the Sprite characters and demonstrate 'Seedhi Baat' in various situations; and the jungle was one such situation. Also, it's an effort to make the situations a bit outlandish, in order for it to cut through the clutter of the summer.

The TVC has been shot in South Africa, in and around Cape Town. The creative team who worked on the campaign includes Gahlaut and Krishna Mani, creative director. The servicing tem comprises Sohini Pani, vice-president and Atif Rahman, management supervisor. The film has been shot by Rajesh Krishnan of Soda Films.

This is a multimedia campaign, using platforms such as advertisements, outdoor, radio and digital.

Clear hai?

Sprite, which claims to be the second largest brand in the sparkling soft drink category (after Thums Up), believes that this campaign would set them apart; because "It's quite a contrast to the mainstream; it is honest and simple in its approach and enjoyable for the target group." The ad fraternity, however, chooses to disagree.

"I don't feel it's Sprite. Sprite had a nice, dry humour that I loved. But here, it's loud, too staged and not worth my time," remarks Swati Bhattacharya, vice-president and executive creative director, JWT Delhi. "This ad doesn't have the brand DNA. Somebody needs to think of the brand before they think of the joke," she adds.

Similarly, Vivek Dutta, national planning head, Hakuhodo Percept doesn't find much freshness in the idea. "I think the brand could use something other than the done-to-death African tribal route. No doubt, it's entertaining and funny, but it's not fresh. The Killer commercial was more memorable."

He feels that the brand is getting mileage from the TVC more for the actors, than the idea per se.

Raj Nair, regional creative director, Mumbai & South, Contract Advertising, observes that the work smacks too much of slapstick. "It has become very predictable. I've seen other Sprite commercials, where this plump guy is at the receiving end of his own folly. So, the moment he tells the other guy, "Munna, tu Sprite pee, Sprite", I already know he's going to get the short end of the stick. Then, it just boils down to the gag, which for me isn't funny enough."

He adds, "I don't believe that the Sprite positioning of 'Clear Hai' cannot be more smart, intelligent or insightful, in terms of keeping the one-upmanship territory going. Some examples: the gloriously funny Fedex work of some six years ago. Or, the Mac Vs PC campaign, for that matter."