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"This is a celebration of the iconic Pepsi bottle": Anshul Khanna, Director-Marketing Pepsi, PepsiCo India

By Suraj Ramnath , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Digital
Published : November 07, 2016
The brand recently came out with a digital film to address the issue of villagers' zero access to electricity and light.

There are several villages in India where despite receiving sun light during the day, people staying in the closed huts still do their household chores in the dark due to no access to electricity.

To address this issue, global beverage brand Pepsi, has joined hands with Liter of Light, a foundation, to make a small difference to the lives of few communities living in such areas that do not have access to light even in today's world. They came up with an idea of a lighting solution - a bottle filled with water that transforms into a solar bulb, with zero carbon emissions, that refracts sunlight and is powerful enough to light up a home.

To promote this social cause, Pepsi recently came out with a digital ad film 'Sun in a Bottle' conceptualised by JWT and executed by the agency's digital arm Mirum. The film has been produced by Fire Cracker Films.

As part of Pepsi's commitment to the communities around their plants, the brand's team in partnership with Liter of Light carried out a project that brought light to villages around our plants in Bharuch (Gujarat) and Mamandur (Tamil Nadu). The brand has also captured this through a digital film 'Lighting up lives'.

Anshul Khanna

Talking about the idea behind the campaign, Anshul Khanna, director, Marketing (Pepsi), PepsiCo India, says, "In India, Diwali is the festival of lights and yet, even today there are homes in India that have no access to electricity and people live in darkness. That's why we decided to light up some of the homes in villages and communities in the vicinity of our plant." He further adds, "We were so enthused by this idea was because it actually hurls a very ingenious low cost solution using recycled Pepsi bottles that actually transforms into a light bulb without using electricity."

It was the ingenuity and simplicity of the idea that prompted Pepsi to take this forward and create the campaign.

Pepsi has been a partner with Liter of Lights foundation for the past four years now and done projects in Philippines, Columbia, Pakistan, Egypt and Kenya. Liter of Light is a global open source of projects that provides ecologically sustainable lighting solutions free of cost to communities that don't have access to electricity. Together these two companies have been working to convert a basic plastic bottle as an instrument to change the world.

When we asked Khanna if this is one of Pepsi's CSR (corporate social responsibility) projects, he says, "We have a host of CSR projects that we associate with, which are around water conservation and back communities outside. I would like to see this as something to bring out a simple and ingenious idea so in that ways it is not a conventional CSR marketing idea. It was really a brand's idea that celebrated the iconic Pepsi bottle and the idea of bringing light to communities. So in that way I am not looking at this as a CSR marketing like some of the other initiatives that we have."

We asked our digital expert if 'Sun in a Bottle' is a well-executed film and does it look like a CSR activity that has been shot.

Sundeep Keramalu

Sundeep Keramalu, associate creative director - copy, Razorfish India, says, "The film is simple and warm. Although, I would have preferred not underscoring the Pepsi bottle cap until the very end, just to kindle the hook of curiosity. That said, the little girl's restless pursuit of the sun is cute and makes you eager about the consequences in the story, should she accomplish her mission. However, I'd have to maintain that the narrative of the girl hunting endlessly for the sun could have been way much shorter and the journey to the point of objective - the 'literoflight.org' platform could have been faster!"

According to Keramalu, the idea by Pepsi is very kind but the delivery mode could have been kinder. "Usually villages are known to have a huge hangover of ventilation and natural light during the day. Their real thirst for light begins post-twilight. On that horizon, though the film emits the fumes of a generous heart, the instinct seems to miss the bull's eye," he says.

Adding further he says, "On the flip side, the global 'literoflight.org' platform spearheaded by Pepsi, has great potential in creating a positive snowball towards our society, accentuating the importance of looking at solutions that are simple, cost-effective, and easy to deploy."

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