Saumya Tewari and Prachi Srivastava

Pepsi India Lands Pre-Diwali Tearjerker

PepsiCo's latest warm-and-fuzzy digital campaign titled #GharWaliDiwali resonates with lakhs of young Indians faced with professional commitments around Diwali time. The seven minute-long film has fetched over 3,14,168 YouTube views in little over two days

PepsiCo, known for its high decibel branding and electrifying 30-second TV spots, has taken a far tamer, digital route this Diwali. The otherwise loud and peppy brand has released a seven minute-long digital-only film (#GharWaliDiwali) that tugs at the heartstrings of every young professional who has inadvertently hurt his/her parents by choosing work over family around festive occasions like Diwali.

Pepsi India Lands Pre-Diwali Tearjerker

And the most striking part of the YouTube film is the ever-so-subtle branding. The product demo shot that Indian viewers are all too familiar with - (read: branded cola bottles being hoisted and drained) - is conspicuous by its absence.

Pepsi India Lands Pre-Diwali Tearjerker
Pepsi India Lands Pre-Diwali Tearjerker
Pepsi India Lands Pre-Diwali Tearjerker
Crafted by JWT and directed by Vikramaditya Motwane (also the director of the Hindi feature film Lootera), the film introduces viewers to Piya (played by actress Geetanjali Thapa), a young working mother. Geetanjali, just like every other independent-yet-dependent youngster, is the type who reaches out to her parents - over calls, video chat and social media - for every little thing, be it relationship advice, recipes or mundane troubleshooting. Her parents, who are always there for her, are upset when she tells them she can't make it home for Diwali, for a second consecutive year. What happens next is best left to the audio-visuals.

PepsiCo India's head of digital marketing, Rishi Dogra, says, "The joy of celebrating any occasion with your family is unmatched. This Diwali, we wanted to cherish this affectionate bond and help people relive these moments which often get missed in our always-on, virtually connected lifestyle."

The film targets tech-savvy, always-connected consumers who stay in touch with their families through technology but miss out on priceless physical proximity.

Babita Baruah, senior vice president and executive business director, JWT India, believes that while technology is no doubt an "ally" because it helps bring families closer, it can't replace the true joy of "homecoming."

"Nothing can replace that love and warmth," she says, "This film is a calling to all of us to come home."

Sonia Bhatnagar, executive creative director, JWT India, says, "The festive season is special and there are moments when we realise that maybe we are caught up in our own lives to the extent of taking family/parents for granted. Memories of food, love and home rekindle this realisation."

PepsiCo has also tied-up with for the sale of Manish Arora-designed Kurkure gift packs. Through, a branded microsite, the company is giving consumers a chance to send Kurkure gift packs home to their families this Diwali. The Twitter hashtag #gharwalidiwali is where people can share their most heart-warming, family-centric stories.

Emotional, Sharable, Lengthy...

Pepsi India Lands Pre-Diwali Tearjerker
Pepsi India Lands Pre-Diwali Tearjerker
To Kushal Sanghvi, business head, Reliance Entertainment and Digital, this is an emotional film that tries to connect with youngsters who stay away from their parents, typically in bigger cites, and are busy taking on worldly challenges.

"But for the simple challenges in their life, the presence of their parents is irreplaceable," he says, adding, "The brand has made it very relatable to its TG... that's what makes it 'sharable'."

For Sanghvi, the only downside is the length of the film. The thematic messaging, he opines, is revealed a touch too late. He would've also preferred some more shots that showcased "family time" during Diwali.

Meanwhile, for Vistasp Hodiwala, founder, Underdog Communications, a recently established creative agency, the campaign manages to hold the viewer's attention for seven long minutes, something he insists is a "a tough proposition in today's times." However, Hodiwala feels that same impact could have been created in a shorter length of the film.

He applauds Pepsi's decision to break out of its usual format and do away with the product window, something one is used to seeing at the end of every second TV spot out there.

The TG, Hodiwala infers, is the "heavy social media user." And it's this very segment that the brand is banking on to help the video go viral.

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