JWT takes Pepsi's 'Change the Game' notion a step forward

By Anushree Bhattacharyya , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | May 17, 2011
Originally conceptualised by Taproot for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, the new commercial is an extension of the original idea by JWT.

At the time of ICC (International Council of Cricket) Cricket World Cup, Pepsi highlighted its association with the tournament through the campaign 'Change the Game'. Conceptualised by Taproot India, the campaign showcased the signature style of each cricketer through an interesting story.

The beverage company has returned during the on-going fourth season of the Indian Premier League (IPL), with a new rendition of the same campaign. Only this time, the idea has been conceptualised by its other agency, JWT.

The television commercial titled Gatak, shows a young boy fool three cricketers -- Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina by talking about a new shot. It's only towards the end that the trio realises that the step for the new shot is just another way to have a Pepsi.

Speaking about the concept, Sandeep Singh Arora, executive vice-president, marketing, PepsiCo India, says, "This was a fantastic idea that was released during the World Cup this year, and since it did really well and received good reviews, we decided to return with another new idea from the same stable."

According to Soumitra Karnik, executive creative director, JWT India, the new advertisement is an extension of the original idea. "The campaign does two things -- first, it puts the brand Pepsi at the centre of all the action taking place, and secondly, it highlights a strong connection between the brand and the consumer, and how the brand can be used in a playful manner."

Karnik emphasises that this is just another summer campaign for the beverage brand.

A new take?

While in the recent past, all television commercials for 'Change the Game' were highly appreciated, this time however, the TVC draws flak for failing in execution; it nevertheless gets approval for being a refreshing idea.

Vivek Dutta, business director and national planning head, Hakuhodo Percept, says, "Taproot's interpretation of 'Change the Game' was quite interesting because it was based on insights that were based on unique facts that were known and associated about the players. The bigger fact is that the same players actually 'changed the game', quite literally, by winning the coveted World Cup. This was a huge platform for the brand to launch its campaign."

"Somehow, the current execution and interpretation does not capitalise on the environmental equity created by the World Cup win, nor does it effectively capture the fun essence of Pepsi. Yes, it's a different take on the 'Change the Game' concept, the 'Gatak' refrain is interesting, but the commercial lacks memorability or scale."

According to Elvis Sequeira, national creative director, Cheil Worldwide, the TVC is a little bit of this and that. He remarks, "The film lacks all the charm, simplicity and effervescence of the original 'Change the Game' idea -- which I thought was brilliant. Looks like somebody said, we need more youth cues, and somebody else said 'give the product a bigger role', then everyone got serious and came up with this."

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