BY ALI NAQVI –
Do you want to make a “big” advertising campaign? Well, how about a magic trick! Randomly jumble up some top celebrities and a few models from here and there in a black magician’s hat and instead of saying abracadabra just say Brrr and here we go… The campaign for one of the world’s biggest soft drink brands, Coke, is ready to be pulled out from the hat. That’s how the idea for Coke’s new TVC might have been presented and sold by the creative agency to the brand.
Coca Cola Pakistan seems much embarrassed by its own doing that it has neither shared the Brrr campaign TVC on social media handles nor uploaded the video on Coke YouTube channel. The brand has all the reason to abandon the campaign and take refuge in the Coke Studio hype.
Things that look simple require greater effort and pain to conceive, and things that are ‘simply’ conceived do not make an impact. A creative process is always painful and there is no short cut to that. Coca-Cola Brrr is too basic and too frivolous a campaign to even talk about. The concept is not even fresh to begin with. The ‘Brrr’ idea had been used in different parts of Asia and Africa before being replicated for the audience in Pakistan. It was first executed in the country more than a decade ago featuring Shoaib Hashmi.
At the start of the ad, watching Atif Aslam on horseback and his ridiculous friend beside him reminds me of Alonso Quixano and Sancho Panza from Miguel de Cervantes’ epic novel Don Quixote. If you have not read this Spanish classic let me give you a necessary introduction. The novel is about Quixano (Don Quixote was the name he choose for himself as a knight errant) who has read too much about the chivalric adventures of knights that he decides himself to become one. From there on his journey of disillusionment with reality starts. In his adventures he sees every ordinary and misfortunate event as grand and heroic.
In Pakistan Coke as a brand it seems is suffering from quixotic disillusionment that started with the extremist campaign. The brand has begun to think quite like Don Quixote thought in the novel without taking the measure of reality.
What Coke does not realize is that the weightage of the brand is never enough to make a campaign successful. It has to have some substance to it. Coke needs to flex its creative muscles to make communications that could match the status that the brand enjoys in the market and as well as in the hearts of the consumers.
With Coke Studio just days away the current communication could have used the theme of music to connect with it. The changed bottle labels do suggest that but again they don’t jell in with the ridiculous Brrr campaign.
To some seeing Atif Aslam doing the Brrr act and some pretty girls for that matter may be amusing and entertaining but the question is, is this the price the brand would pay to put its image in jeopardy.
In the last decade or so Coke has pushed Pepsi back a long way; a brand that was once synonymous with cold-drink. If Coke kept on producing mindless campaigns like Brrr, there is every reason to expect that Pepsi will seize the opportunity to dethrone Coke from the hearts and minds of the consumers.