Saumya Tewari

Coke releases first desi ad under Taste the Feeling umbrella

The ad, which unveils the local rendition of the new global positioning 'Taste the Feeling', features Bollywood actor Sidharth Malhotra.

A month after Coca-Cola shifted its positioning from 'Open Happiness' to 'Taste the Feeling', the company has rolled out a desi campaign for the India market. The new positioning is designed to keep the product at heart in order to reflect both the functional and emotional aspects of the Coca-Cola experience.

Executed by the brand's global agency Sra Rushmore, the latest spot features Bollywood actor Sidharth Malhotra walk into a supermarket. As the parched Malhotra gulps down an iced Coke, the lady at the cash counter cannot help but gawk at him through the CCTV footage. Lost in her thoughts, she is caught off guard when Malhotra appears before her. To cover up, she spontaneously tells him that he is the lucky customer to have won a Coke which he has to drink at the spot. As the actor gulps down his Coke, the cashier continues to watch him in awe.

Coke releases first desi ad under Taste the Feeling umbrella
The video, which was posted on the company's official YouTube and Facebook page on March 11, has garnered over one lakh views so far.

The objective of the campaign is to simply remind consumers of the happy and joyous moments that a chilled and effervescent Coca-Cola bottle brings to their lives.

Targetted at young consumers, the campaign will be amplified on various platforms across key markets. The TVC will be run across Hindi and regional channels. There will be integrations across the IPL matches, along with an OOH campaign across 10 cities. The promotion leg will also include seeding on owned social assets and conversations through brand advocates and influencers.

After creating stories under the 'Open Happiness' brand positioning, Coca-Cola has launched the 'Taste the Feeling' campaign as its first global campaign in seven years. The brand has united Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, and Coca-Cola Zero under the iconic Coca-Cola brand positioning in one global creative campaign. The one brand strategy positions Coca-Cola as a brand that highlights the commitment to 'choice', allowing consumers to choose whichever Coca-Cola suits their taste, lifestyle and diet.

Taste of Success?

According to Naresh Gupta, strategy head and managing partner Bang In the Middle, the Indian campaign's brand tonality is perfect.

Coke releases first desi ad under Taste the Feeling umbrella
Coke releases first desi ad under Taste the Feeling umbrella
"It has the same feel as the global coke ad, and perhaps, that is why we see the ubiquitous corner grocery shop with a female cashier and security set up," he notes, while giving a thumbs up to the cast of extremely good-looking people bond over Coke.

Gupta believes that the change of the brand positioning is way too muted and adds that the spot is very different from any other soft drink commercial on TV.

"Perhaps, the brand never wanted to convey that it has changed its stance and is in a new zone. There would be a greater conversation around the casting and music rather than the new tagline. It may pick up as we go along, but it looks difficult as it comes on the back of just this TVC," he concludes.

Vasudha Misra, creative head - Delhi, FCB Ulka, opines that the previous Coke commercials lived up to the 'Open Happiness' positioning. She recalls that those ads reflected joy.

"Whether it was the 'Umeedon Waali Dhoop' or the Kalki-Imran ad, I miss the feeling the other Coke ads had," she recalls, but adds that the current campaign has a more product-centric approach and is nicely executed.

When asked if the campaign lacks the hype associated with the global tagline launch, Misra justifies it saying that it is a part of the continuing campaign, and is not a launch.

"Especially, since 'Open Happiness' is so deeply entrenched in our minds. But, I'm sure there's more to come," she says.

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