Coke: Giving 'Thanda' an urban context

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Last updated : September 25, 2014 04:04 PM
The new slug for Coca-Cola - 'Piyo thanda. Jiyo thanda' - is aimed at connecting with urban youth by leveraging the 'Thanda matlab' equity

'Jiyo thanda.' It's hard getting a translation in on that one, but if one has to - without sacrificing the sum and substance of the phrase - it'd be a cross between 'keep the cool', 'make your day' and 'live a life'. It's something of an attitude statement, a call for action. And coming from Coca-Cola, that's something new.

We're, of course, talking about the new slug in Coke's life in India. The one that goes, 'Piyo thanda. Jiyo thanda.' The one that debuted with Coke's new television commercial that went on air last week, featuring endorsers Aishwarya Rai and Vivek Oberoi.

'Piyo thanda', we all know and understand. But 'Jiyo thanda'? In our efforts to unravel that, let's revisit the ad briefly. The commercial starts with Vivek and his sidekick at some sort of a hangout. The Coke-guzzling Vivek is all eyes for Aishwarya, seated a few tables away with her friends. Noticing the attention she is receiving, Aishwarya playfully remarks, 'Window shopping kar raha hai, bechaara.' She then bids her friends farewell, announcing that she is leaving in a taxi.

Just a mite mindful of the snub that has just come his way, Vivek takes a swig of Coke… and chances upon an idea. He dashes off to the taxi that Aishwarya is heading for, throws his cellphone into the back seat and beats a retreat. Back with his friend, Vivek borrows his friend's cellphone and starts dialing… The phone lying on the seat next to Aishwarya starts ringing. Surprised, she picks it up. Vivek tells her that his cellphone is a bit of a 'romantic' and might have goofed off for some 'window shopping'. Smiling at his clever prank, she asks him his whereabouts.

Back at the hangout, Vivek waits for Aishwarya to return. But a waiter comes over and hands him his phone, saying, 'Memsaheb ne diya hai.' Disheartened, he boards a cab to head home - when a phone lying on the back seat rings. To his joy he discovers it is Aishwarya playing the trick back on him… 'Piyo thanda. Jiyo thanda,' is the signoff.

The need of the hour, as far as Coca-Cola India is concerned, is to connect with the urban youth. "While 'Thanda matlab…' is a pan-Indian success and has worked remarkably even in the metros, the campaign is essentially aimed at the rural market, with the idea of growing the generic soft drinks category," says Shripad Nadkarni, vice-president (marketing), Coca-Cola India. "And while 'Thanda matlab…' has given Coke a great language in the country, we felt that it was not reflective enough of typically urban insights which would strike a chord with today's urban audiences."

This, the company says, led it to conduct research among urban youth to understand their motivations. "What we found was that today's youth are very ambitious and confident, but, at the same time, are slightly hesitant about how to go about achieving their goals," says Nadkarni. "Because of the severe competition all around, they are victims of uncertainty. So while there is optimism, it is anxious optimism… a knowing that opportunities don't come often, and if not taken, can be lost forever." For Coke, this was an opportunity to pitch itself into relevance. "What we are saying is that Coke serves as a small catalyst, encouraging you to seize the moment and make best of the opportunities that come your way," explains Nadkarni.

'Seize the moment' became the creative idea for the campaign. "It is a very in thing with today's youth - that opportunity may not come again, so do it right and do it right now," says Prasoon Joshi, national creative director, McCann-Erickson India. "You have movie lyrics that go, 'I love you bol daal' and 'sitaare bhi hum tod lenge'. All this shows that today's youth want to make things happen. And that is exactly what Coke is saying. 'Jiyo Thanda' means live the thanda way by seizing the moment. It is an attitude."

A line of thought quite different from what Coke has said in the past. Although purportedly youth-centric, 'Pyaar, mohabbat, Coca-Cola', 'Jo chaho ho jaaye, Coca-Cola Enjoy' (eeks!) and 'Life ho toh aisi' were all about letting the good times roll. Never directly about what Coke could mean to the consumer. 'Jiyo thanda' is certainly more 'active voice' in the way it attempts to connect with the consumer. "It's about making the best of the opportunity by intelligence or determination," is how Joshi puts it.

Of course, there is little doubt that Coke is also attempting to leverage the 'Thanda' equity. For instance, there is one clear reference to 'Thanda matlab Coca-Cola', when Vivek is giving Aishwarya a lowdown on where he is. "Yes, we did want to borrow from a big concept like 'Thanda matlab'," Joshi agrees. "But we wanted to keep 'Thanda' relevant to the urban youth."

One thing has to be said. This ad is no 'Thanda matlab', in terms of depth of insight. But, to be fair, this is only the first execution of the 'Jiyo thanda' thought. Nadkarni reveals that this is a long-term campaign, and adds that, "the insight would reveal itself over a period of time through the various executions of the idea". © 2003 agencyfaqs!

First Published : September 25, 2014 04:04 PM
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