Shreyas Kulkarni

Coca-Cola does an Axe deodorant; gets Ranbir Kapoor to groove for a group of swooning girls

How does a group of girls fawning over a Bollywood heartthrob, who is dancing, help a cola brand?

To see Bollywood star and heartthrob Ranbir Kapoor groove to a reworked version of Usha Uthup's 'Koi yahan aha nache nache' from the 1982 hit 'Disco Dancer' for an ad, whilst welcome, was surprising.

In the 30-second ad by McCann Worldgroup India, Kapoor is essaying the role of a dance instructor. As he takes a break, a group of girls from a nearby Bharatnatyam class leave their practice mid-way to catch a glimpse of him.

Tired from the morning dance session, Kapoor spots a Coca-Cola refrigerator and heads for it to grab a bottle. The moment he takes his first sip, he breaks into a dance routine while the girls stare at him.

We (afaqs!) were intrigued by the ad. While Kapoor danced without abandon with the bottle in his hand, the girls are seen swooning over him. For a brief moment, he pulls up his vest to reveal his abs. The ad’s title 'Turn up your day' is apt.

Yours truly loved Kapoor’s dance moves, but the ad got us thinking if the cola brand had ventured into the space of Axe deodorant commercials. In the ads, more often than not, a guy becomes alluring to the opposite sex, who fawn over him after he sprays Axe deo on himself.

But that’s not the case in the Coca-Cola ad, where Kapoor is oblivious to the attention. But countless people love Kapoor so we wondered how the aspect of girls swooning over him helped the brand.

“A lot of cola ads are about the slice of life advertising and they capture the mood of the people,” says Lloyd Mathias, former marketing head of PepsiCo, Motorola and HP India.

Lloyd Mathias
Lloyd Mathias

He went on to say that the ad indicates how young people are thinking, and how it’s normal for girls to swoon over guys, which might not have been that cool 20 years ago.

“The ad uses Ranbir Kapoor, a celebrity, in a nice way,” remarked Mathias, adding, “It’s a positive affirmation for Coca-Cola, a sweet ad.”

Ananda Ray, creative head, Rediffusion, found the ad “very generic and uninteresting.” He told us that his only take from the commercial was that this “drink is meant to refresh and re-energise. Which, if I am not mistaken, isn't strictly a Coca-Cola positioning statement.” Other brands in the segment have owned it for a while now.

Ananda Ray
Ananda Ray

Commenting on the women staring at Kapoor, Ray remarked that it’s neither here nor there. It's not an Axe moment because Axe is a tool to attract the opposite gender and “here, the protagonist is blissfully unaware of the attention he's receiving.”

Mind you, this isn’t the first Coca-Cola ad where girls are seen swooning over Kapoor. In February this year, the cola brand released the first ad of its ‘Turn up your day’ campaign, where Kapoor played the role a wall painter. A bunch of girls from a nearby college head to a window nook to stare at him at 3 p.m. because they know that it’s his break time.

However, ‘Turn up your day’ isn’t the only campaign Kapoor has starred in for the cola giant. Keeping Mathias’ “slice of life” statement in mind, we must also look at the #SayItWithCoke campaign. Here, Kapoor, along with veteran Bollywood star Paresh Rawal, played a fun and relatable roles of tenant and landlord.

And since we’ve discussed the aspect of people swooning over someone, we can’t end the story without mentioning Coca-Cola’s 2016 ‘Taste the Feeling’ global campaign. Take a look at the Indian version of the ad: