First, the quintessential wise-guy doles out flap-doodle like largesse. Then the down-to-earth Sprite drinker punches barn door-sized holes in his ego. This has been the format that a lot of Sprite advertising has fallen into of late. The 'college steps' ad, the 'Billoo' ad… even the 'terrace' spoof on Pepsi's Bachchan-Tendulkar ad had one guy egging the Sprite drinker to do something really cool, only to be cut to size by the Sprite guy's rejoinder. It started out as being funny, but formatting has taken a toll, and subsequent renditions of the idea run the risk of ending up as blind spots (no pun intended, whatsoever).
Coca-Cola India, it appears, has caught on to the perils of such formatting. That explains the latest commercial for Sprite, which goes like this. The animation-led commercial is a twenty-first century version of the fable about the thirsty crow that uses common sense to get to the water at the bottom of the pitcher. The film opens on a slick-looking crow (complete with shades and adornments) alighting on the terrace of a building. There are two bottles - one green and one normal glass - on the terrace, and both have a refreshing drink at the bottom. The crow approaches the plain bottle and tries to reach in for a drink, but realizes that the water level is too low. The crow spies some pebbles lying nearby, and he promptly starts dumping the pebbles into the bottle… one by one by one.
Suddenly, a plain-looking crow also alights on the terrace. This crow goes to the green bottle to fetch a drink, but it too realizes the drink is beyond its reach. It looks at the pebbles, goes up to one, and uses it as a whetting stone to sharpen its beak. It then deftly punctures a hole in the green bottle, and out gushes a torrent of liquid. Having drunk to its heart's content, the second crow flies off, much to the chagrin of the first crow. 'Sprite. All taste. No gyaan,' says the voiceover.
"The client wanted to explore new and different renditions of the all-taste-no-gyaan thought, because there was a feeling that the advertising had started following a format," Abhijit Awasthi, creative director, O&M, is candid. "So we thought up many scripts that could render the basic thought differently. We made a conscious attempt to break the format. When we presented the scripts to the client, this one got picked as this met all the requirements."
An interesting aspect of this commercial is that it picks on what might be termed 'traditional wisdom'. "Sprite's idea is to take on gyaan in any form, and that could be traditional gyaan," explains Awasthi. "What Sprite is saying that using gyaan is one thing, being ingenious is another. The idea in this ad fits well with Sprite because the brand is also about ingenuity. What we are saying is that you may have someone telling you this is the way things should be done, but we are urging people to think original."
Relating the ad to Sprite, he adds that while Sprite has always been the pretension-buster, the brand has also been about breaking pre-set norms and attitudes. "By doing things the way they have typically been done, you follow the herd," he says. "Sprite is against the herd mentality." So, what Sprite is saying here is that while there may not be anything intrinsically wrong in the way things are done, why not find a smarter way of getting there. Awasthi, however, maintains that 'trusting your instinct' will continue to be the core Sprite proposition.
He adds that doing an animation-led film was not central to the idea of breaking the Sprite format. "When Vijay (Lalwani, a writer at O&M, who has scripted the ad) narrated the script, we knew that this had to be animation-led," says Awasthi. "The script demanded animation." For the record, the film has been directed by Sonal Dabral, national creative director, O&M Malaysia, while the animation is the work of Malaysia-based special effects outfit, Moon FX. Â© 2003 agencyfaqs!