Ashwini Gangal

Pepsi goes pronto!

Pepsi demonstrates its 'youthful irreverence' through a new campaign that urges youngsters to seize the moment.

Patience was crowned as the mother of virtues, till it was overtaken by the era of instant gratification, where the here and now trumps all. Reflecting this very sentiment, Pepsi has launched a new campaign that celebrates impatience, a characteristic feature of today's youth.

Pepsi goes pronto!
Pepsi goes pronto!
Titled 'Oh Yes Abhi!', the campaign encourages youngsters to seize the moment at hand. The 90-second TVC, scheduled to go on-air on February 1, brings actors Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra and cricketer M S Dhoni together for the very first time in one ad. The film captures the three brand ambassadors in their respective moments of impatience, while the new anthem plays in the background.

Deepika Warrier, vice-president, marketing, beverages, PepsiCo India, explains in an official communiqué that 'Oh Yes Abhi!' translates into 'Live for the present as tomorrow is too late'.

While the insight is meant to reflect the spirit of today's youth, the ad almost condones -- if not advocates -- impatience, something that's been condemned by generations gone by. So while avoiding procrastination and vowing to 'do it now' is a positive suggestion, could glorifying impatience send the wrong message to today's adolescents?

Surjo Dutt, executive creative director, JWT India (the creative agency that has crafted this campaign), defends, "Pepsi is not a guru; it's a mirror. It mirrors what the youth are feeling already. The youth feel the way they feel; for them, impatience is already a virtue. Brands that can catch onto what they are feeling are the ones that connect with the youth."

ATL efforts will be supported by radio, digital, on-ground and outdoor initiatives.

Edgy idea?

The attempted larger-than-life creative execution is being appreciated. According to Dheeraj Sinha, chief strategy officer, Grey, South and Southeast Asia, the ad is well-shot and utilises the three celebrities in a casual, seamless manner. "There is certainly a trademark Pepsi energy to the idea and the spot," he says.

Experts are, however, quick to notice that the insight is not entirely new. Sinha critiques, "Impatience is a universal youth trait, irrespective of generation or culture. That gives the ad a 'seen before' feel." The ad particularly reminds Sinha of Airtel's campaign for its broadband service, which said 'Impatience is the new life'.

Pepsi goes pronto!
Pepsi goes pronto!
"I think somewhere an attempt has been made to find a sweet spot between spontaneous living and spontaneous consumption of the beverage. It makes the idea relevant. Is it fresh? May be not," he elaborates.

JWT's Dutt fields, "Well, contexts change but some youth realities never do. With time, some things become even truer than they were earlier. The whole impatience theme was so blindingly true that we just had to go for it. I feel no shame in picking up a youth emotion that has been picked up by other brands before."

From 'Just Do It' to 'Do It Now'

Years back, Nike said 'Just Do It'. Today, Pepsi encourages youngsters to 'Do It Now'. Does this insight work for the cola giant? For Ashish Khazanchi, national creative director and vice-chairperson, Publicis Ambience, the ad is like a frothy, impulsive, bubbly rendition of the 'Just Do It' concept. "It's a bit like going back to the good ol' days of energetic, frothy goodness," he offers.

Interestingly enough, Khazanchi has a dual opinion about the ad. As a lay consumer, he loves it but the creative professional in him finds a loophole or two. "Viscerally, from the gut, I like it. There's nothing not to like in this ad -- the soundtrack is great and it'll surely become popular. The campaign lays a good foundation on which future stories around the theme of impatience can be built," says Khazanchi-the-consumer.

"We are peddlers of stories. While this ad has got its moments, it's an 'all execution, all mood, all faces' kind of approach," says Khazanchi-the-adman, pointing out that the characters are not doing anything "elevating" or "redeeming" as human interest ads with deeper storylines, plots and dialogues typically do.

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