Happy connections with shadows and Coca-Cola

By Biprorshee Das , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | December 17, 2010
Taking forward the 'Open Happiness' brand thought, the latest commercial of the cola giant brings out the need for people to connect with each other.

Coca-Cola has an idea to bring people together, as it continues to 'open happiness'. The brand's latest television commercial stems from the thought that people need to connect with each other, especially in the increased isolation of urban lives.

The Shadow film, conceptualised by McCann Erickson Delhi, conveys the message in a zestful manner that is also visually stimulating.

The film has been directed by Dibakar Banerjee of Freshwater Films. The creative team at the agency includes Prasoon Joshi, executive chairman and regional executive creative director, McCann Erickson, Asia Pacific; Ashish Chakravarty, creative chief, McCann Erickson Delhi; and creative directors, Tirtha Ghosh and Nakul Sharma.

On the film, Joshi says, "India today is a country of the young. The young have dreams and aspirations, which bring them to bigger towns and cities. Here, in a strange and unfamiliar environment, the desire to find human connections - friends -- is even more. And this is a story of one such young guy, one fun way of connecting. Coke is at the centre of the story, becoming a warm and unique agent of this desired connection."

Chakravarty tells afaqs! that the basic idea is not about the clichéd 'boy meeting girl', but two human beings connecting with each other.

"We realise there is this certain social tension. We show that in the film. Coke is not a magic liquid, but it becomes a friend to drive away the tension. Through the TVC, we show how we arrive at a real connection between people with Coke's help," he says.

"The connection happens before the neighbour is revealed. It is just a happy coincidence that the neighbour is a girl. You are connecting with another human being, and it is about Coke being with you," Chakravarty adds.

The campaign broke on the digital medium before it appeared in mass media. A microsite was created especially for the campaign (, where users could watch the film and share it on social networking sites. The TVC was also available on the mobile platform.

Anand Singh, director, marketing (colas), Coca-Cola India says, "The new campaign was first released using the digital platform, in order to directly tap today's young consumer, who likes to be the first to try out new products and offers. Additionally, the campaign was also made available through SMS and Blue-casting. This unique approach will certainly generate a buzz around the new Coca-Cola campaign by offering the target audience a sneak preview of the commercial and create a viral effect thereof."

The TVC also features a chic, remixed version of an old Hindi movie song, a trend that one saw in the previous two commercials as well.

Chakravarty says it was not intentional the first time in the film featuring Khan and Kalki Koechlin; but it just caught on after that.

"We normally do not do this. The first time we intended to use an alternate original song. The remix idea was suggested later, which we decided to go ahead with. There was an indefinable quality. It had that groove. The same thing happened during the Diwali campaign as well, and we decided to go ahead with it the third time too. It seems to be working," he says.

Happy thoughts

The film has met with favourable responses from creative experts, who say that the thought and execution do justice to the philosophy of 'Open Happiness'.

Offering his critical perspective, Raj Nair, regional creative director, Contract Advertising says, "With the bus commercial starring Kalki and Imran, I feel that the Coke work has become reasonably enjoyable again. This one too is quite entertaining in terms of story. There is no significant new creative leap, but it kind of picks up from where the bus film left off and shows Imran's new journey towards getting and enjoying the bottle of Coke."

"Since it is a 'shadow play' story, it has to be set at night and so is a bit grungier. But the device is fresh and intriguing enough to hold your attention," Nair says of the execution.

Kunal Gill, executive creative director, Dentsu Creative Impact says, "I think it is a really good idea that captures the spirit behind the baseline very well. It is engaging too; keeps you watching it till the end. The overall look and feel of the film is excellent. It has been edited well, which keeps it tight."

Both Gill and Nair feel that the music goes well with the film too.

"It is a good match. The music has a sense of mischief and playfulness, which matches the mood of the film. Remixing can work like a treat if done right. In this particular film, it is done well and it works," says Gill.

"The music will always work, because it is a Bollywood classic. You just cannot go wrong with a track like that. Especially if the track is relevant to the storyline, it will always add memorability to the film," adds Nair.

According to Nair, the decision to go digital first is a wise one. "The intent to connect with the core audience using the media most relevant to them is something we have been and will continue to see more and more of," he says.

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