Abid Hussain Barlaskar

As ‘Bhai’ takes a ‘ghoont’ of chilled Pepsi in heavy snowfall

The new Pepsi ad featuring Bollywood star Salman Khan in a peak winter setting counters seasonality of the segment.

Soft drink brands in India are trying to rebuild themselves as all season players. This explains the copy ‘Thand lag rahi hai? Toh ek thandi Pepsi ho jaaye.’? These lines are uttered by the brand’s endorser Salman Khan in its latest digital film.

The Bollywood star clad in a fur lined jacket standing in thick snow takes a ‘ghoont’ of chilled Pepsi. This turns the codes of Indian fizzy beverage advertising on its head. ‘Bhai’ would usually be flaunting his guns in a sleeveless or a tee in Pepsi ads.

It is also probably the first time we’re seeing a Pepsi India ad in a winter setting. Yes, they do it for Christmas and new year celebrations in the West, but India’s has had a rather low key Christmas in comparison to the preceding Diwali-Dusshera festive season.

In response to our query about the thoughts that went into the film, a PepsiCo India spokesperson says that the year-end festive period is one where consumers traditionally get together with friends and family, and enjoy moments of togetherness. “Whether at-home or outside, Pepsi is a treat that can be enjoyed in any season.”

However, it is an inescapable fact that soft drink players have had a difficult summer 2020 due to COVID. Brands might be vying for recovery targets instead of pursuing growth.

“We understand the importance of these moments (of togetherness) in the consumer’s journey and are committed to being a part of their experience throughout the year. Hence, we wanted to communicate with them and not limit our dialogue only during the summer thereby countering seasonality,” the spokesperson adds.