Pepsi's Mafia web-series goes viral; is India ready for the Mini Can?

By Saumya Tewari , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital
Last updated : April 06, 2016
The beverage giant launched its 150 ml Mini Can in this market in March this year. A look at the communication.

Pepsi India has rolled out a quirky mini web series to promote its recently launched offering 'Mini Can'. The new product is a bite sized packaging that provides 150 ml cola drink in a stylish can priced at Rs 15. Mini Can has been available both online and in brick-and-mortar stores since March. The product, the company claims, is perfect for individual consumption and its petite packaging makes it travel-friendly.

Talking about the product, Vipul Prakash, vice-president - beverage category, PepsiCo India, says, "New packaging is always exciting and Pepsi cans have always epitomised cool. The Pepsi Mini Can is the perfect bite sized packaging that takes the coolness a notch further."

Pepsi, known for its desi campaigns, has taken a digital only route to promote Mini Can. It has tied up with its creative agency J Walter Thompson and Vivek Kakad of Curious Films to create an interesting series of digital films.

The series takes a humorous route featuring an Italian mafia lord 'Mr Can' and his right hand man 'Mr Cornell'. Each part of the series delivers a lesson and highlights the message, 'Never underestimate the power of little things'. The core proposition is 'Little Can. Big Lesson.'

Vipul Prakash

The first episode of the series introduces the characters and their quirks. There are three core human values that are highlighted through each video such as honesty and loyalty. The films have been given an international look and feel.

The first film shows the mafia boss in a discussion with his right hand man about his successor. When Cornell says he should succeed the boss, stating that the boss' son is 'a fool', a rather shocked Mr Can appreciates his honesty.

A test of honesty among three young men follows. They are asked to create a pyramid with Pepsi Mini Cans, blindfolded. Two of them complete the task, while the third says he could see through his blindfold, and hence, couldn't cheat to complete the task.

The other two episodes in the series highlight the importance of loyalty, among other things, in a quirky manner.

Senthil Kumar

Pepsi has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to creating popular culture and reflecting youth trends in the country both in it's mainstream communication and platform specific ideas such as Mini Can content idea of the Pepsi Mini Series, says Senthil Kumar, chief creative officer, JWT.

"We set out to create engaging content for today's content hungry youth, an always on audience that is sharing, searching, downloading and binge-watching daily content," he explains.

The Mini Series, he notes, is not traditional pure play advertising but rather an unprecedented storytelling format, with memorable characters and a compelling narrative - all crafted for universal appeal.

Uploaded on Pepsi's official YouTube channel on March 18, all three films have crossed over four lakh views so far.

Set to succeed?

Giving a perspective on the product, brand guru and advisor at AKG Technologies Prabhakar Mundkur, feels the Pepsi Mini Can is a great idea.

Prabhakar Mundkur

Rajiv Dingra

Sidharth Shukla

"Cans are aspirational. Somehow, drinking from cans is more elegant than drinking from cups or bottles. By offering a 150 ml can priced at Rs 15, I think the sale of cans can really take off," he says.

Mundkur also feels that the quantity provided (150 ml) is satisfactory and adequate for consumers to quench their thirst.

Talking about the communication, Rajiv Dingra, founder and CEO, WATConsult, finds the campaign different for a beverage brand especially in the cola space. The execution, he says, targets the youth, and hence, the choice of the digital medium.

"The use of an international look does give Pepsi Mini a premium feel," Dingra points out, though he feels that the length of the films could have been shorter and crisper.

Sidharth Shukla, head -- digital strategy and social media, Cheil India, believes that Pepsi has pulled off great content marketing. The international look of the series is not a downer.

"Yes, localisation is important, but that should not mean that every creative asset which rolls out needs to be localised. YouTube in particular, plays a crucial role, at least globally, within the digital ecosystem for Pepsi, and the mini-series caters to that objective," he notes.

Shukla feels using a 'mafia boss' persona to deliver the life lessons, but in a light-hearted, witty manner works well.

"And, as can be seen by consumer response to the videos, they are being appreciated substantially, especially the dance film," he concludes.

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First Published : April 06, 2016


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