Ubaid Zargar

Pepsi India unveils new ad film, addresses social judgements and bullying

Pepsi India has launched a new TVC featuring Salman Khan for its #HarGhoontMeinSwag campaign. The ad film encourages youth to take charge of their lives, all the while addressing social judgements and bullying. Here is an overview.

In a bid to encourage millennials to take charge of their own lives, Pepsi India has launched a new TVC for its 'Har Ghoont Mein Swag' campaign. Featuring Bollywood superstar and brand ambassador Salman Khan, the ad film asks youngsters to embrace the SWAG philosophy of 'har wrong ko right bana de' – a signature Pepsi tagline.

It asks the youth to overlook conventional societal judgements and not be bogged down by them. With Khan as the protagonist, the spot takes a stand against bullying and prejudices.

The film depicts a college canteen setting where a young couple is seen getting bullied by a bunch of students – until, of course, the 'Dabangg' actor enters the scene to set the record straight.

Speaking about the TVC, a PepsiCo India spokesperson says, “Over the years, Brand Pepsi has had its pulse on the changing trends, evolving times and beliefs of the younger generation. It has always created campaigns that resonate with their contemporary ideas. This summer, P is reflecting on how the youth should tackle societal judgement - with self-confidence, unshakeable self-belief and irrefutable SWAG. In 2020, P will continue celebrating the spirit of the new generation through the Har Ghoont Mein Swag campaign and bring it alive through multiple consumer passion points during the year.”

In the past, Pepsi has produced similar campaigns that endorse a sense of 'swag' in dealing with social norms, often pointing the choice of being non-compliant and unapologetic. For instance, here is Pepsi's previous 'Har Ghoont Mein Swag' ad film depicting a college ambience and some rebellious youth.

However, the new ad film is a little more definitive in its communication in that it addresses a widely prevalent negative social perception around unmarried couples. While this TVC could well be construed as Pepsi's attempt at being woke, here is what industry experts think of the effort.

Expert review:

Lucky Saini, VP, Digital & Marketing Solutions, Dentsu India Slingshot

Pepsi India unveils new ad film, addresses social judgements and bullying

Pepsi has consistently spoken to the youth in an irreverent way and tried to establish a bond with them by speaking their lingo. Social judgement and shaming is a real issue at college and school level, and so, this will definitely resonate with the audience (those who are at the receiving end and those who stand up against it). So, in a way, is like that friend who stands up for you and gives you a hand when you need one.

The choice of using Salman as that personality is also a good fit as he (ex host of 'Bigg Boss') has come across as someone who takes a stand on what’s right. So, he has the right image (both reel and real) to deliver this message.

I don’t think Pepsi’s user demographic is conservative. The youth today wears their attitude on their sleeve and are unapologetic about it, too. The brand is associating with those values, attitude and creating an affinity with them.

Ramanuj Shastry, co-founder and director, Infectious

Pepsi India unveils new ad film, addresses social judgements and bullying

A fairly forgettable ad. It deals with the sensitive issue of bullying with the subtlety of a dentist wielding a pile driver. The aggression is grating. The spot is so testosterone charged that I grew a few more chest hair just watching it. Terrible use of Salman Khan (I’m a fan) - in my honest opinion.

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