7Up, the clear lemon drink from the PepsiCo stable, has released a new campaign that carries forward its quirky positioning. An extension of the 'I feel up' thought, which had actor Sharman Joshi tapping his foot with a caged penguin to uplift its mood, the new campaign uses off beat dance performances to liven up the situation.
Conceptualised by Taproot India, the campaign currently comprises two television commercials, with more in the offing. The films show quirky dance and music combinations. Interestingly, the earlier campaign (Sharman Joshi) with the same thought line was conceptualised by BBDO.
In the Kathakali film, a Kathakali artist hands a bottle of 7Up to a girl waiting at the corner of a street. As soon as the girl accepts it, the audio system starts playing an eccentric mix of music from varied genres like dandiya, rock n roll, and so on, to which the artist gives an exuberant, though not strictly classical, performance. In the Kimono film, a Japanese woman clad in a Kimono hands a bottle of 7Up to a young man waiting near a station, and then breaks into lavani (a dance form of Maharashtra).
Explaining how Taproot arrived at the two characters, co-founder Agnello Dias says that the brief highlighted the two most important equity properties as 'dance' and the 'I feel up' optimism, which the brand stood for. "It is not so much about Kathakali specifically but about joy and happiness that drives true 'uninhibitedness' through dance. We thought that if one felt up looking at the ad then the 'I feel up' message would resonate more. So we thought if we stay around the most unexpected dance performed by a dancer or the most unexpected person doing a simple dance, it could make one feel happy," says Dias.
The campaign attempts to communicate that 7Up livens up a break in the middle of a dreary boring day, he adds. Interestingly, the Kathakali film was shot at a real street corner in Kolkata, while Kimono was shot in Mumbai.
Besides online, the campaign will be translated on outdoor, through on-ground activations and on the digital platform.
Manish Bhatt, founder director, Scarecrow Communications, says that the campaign's theme is relevant as people want to be in an upbeat mood but it's not an out-of-the-box idea. "The concept is likeable with the message of uplifting mood but the music in the Penguin TVC could have been retained. It was memorable and had a property to be used in other media as well. So, it was a lost opportunity in terms of music. Having said that, the production and direction of the films were good," he says.
Mitali Srivastava, managing partner, Utopeia Communicationz says the films caught her attention for a few seconds but she lost interest when it became "Farha Khan doing the IPL dance in a Kathakali outfit". Srivastava feels that 7Up has been an iconic brand, a great choice for those who don't want a cola but a clear, refreshing drink. "But it didn't give me a reason to believe in the brand. Especially, with its key competitor Sprite clearly taking a stance of being 'clever' with all the communication in the last few years - Baaki sab bakwaas, Raasta Clear Hai, Chalo apni chaal," Srivastava says.
She notes that the previous campaign with Penguin and the current one with Kathakali portray dancing as a result of mood enhancement. "Out of the two, the Kathakali ad seems like forceful entertainment. Liked by many and hated by many more, it has created a controversy as it shows the dancer doing salsa and Govinda moves instead of leveraging a dance form that focuses on hand mudras or the facial expressions, thus hurting various cultural sensibilities. For a brand that counts South India as an important market, that's a bad move," she opines.