Coca Cola India’s ‘Taste The Feeling’ Gets A Desi Twist With Sidharth Malhotra

The India ad is a frame-by-frame recreation of the global one, except for a pair of autorickshaws instead of trucks outside the supermarket. There's no room for local improvisation

Coca Cola has been having a hard time with global sales dropping by the quarter. Health concerns over soda based drinks have trumped all that the brand claimed to stand for through its seven-year-old ‘Open Happiness’ campaign. Over the years, the campaign has been churning out some meaningful, memorable ads all across the globe; it also managed to create an ideal world with India-Pakistan co-existing peacefully. Still, sales declined as people weren’t too eager to ‘open happiness’.

So this year it made a strategic shift by closing down ‘Open Happiness’ and  opening an altogether new global campaign – ‘Taste the Feeling’. The integrated advertising campaign will bring together Coca-Cola Light, Diet Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Zero and Coca-Cola Life in a ‘one-brand’ approach. The idea is to cater to various consumers as per their taste, lifestyle and diet – with or without calories, with or without caffeine.

While ‘Open Happiness’ was all about preachy, idealistic stuff, ‘Taste the Feeling’ puts the focus back on the product, and will show how simple, everyday moments are made more special with a Coca Cola.

“We’ve found over time that the more we position Coca-Cola as an icon, the smaller we become,” CMO Marcos de Quinto said. “The bigness of Coca-Cola resides in the fact that it’s a simple pleasure – so the humbler we are, the bigger we are. We want to help remind people why they love the product as much as they love the brand.”

A series of humble ads had been rolled out by an international network of agencies including - Mercado-McCann, Santo, Sra. Rushmore and Oglivy & Mather, where Coca Cola is at the center of happy interactions: like a first date, a break up, friends meeting,  just chilling out, at the supermarket and more.

This one is set in a supermarket, and is meant to romance the experience of drinking a Coca-Cola. A handsome guy enters a supermarket to refresh himself with a Coca Cola. The cashier girl busy on her smartphone  fails to notice the guy, she just signals to him the whereabouts of Coke in the supermarket.

While he finds one, she finds him too…she finds him quite handsome and checks him out by zooming in to the in-store camera, as he gulps down a chilled Coke. By this time, she is so lost in ‘tasting the feeling’ of an ice-cold Coca-Cola, that she does not realize he has finished and is standing in front of her counter!

Taken aback, she cooks up a quick story, so she can enjoy some more. She announces that he is the lucky winner of a free Coke, which he needs to finish at the store itself.

Now watch the local version featuring brand ambassador Sidharth Malhotra. Conceptualized by global agency Sra. Rushmore, it is a frame-by-frame recreation of the global ad for a desi audience, except for a pair of rickshaws instead of trucks outside the supermarket.

The brand’s built a website for creating gifs, which can be shared on social networks. How do you feel after having your Coca Cola? Now you can ‘Gif that feeling‘; stop at whatever moving piece of gif you like from the range of crazy things people are doing in there, type your feeling and you are good to go. Share on Facebook, Twitter or simply download your gif.

Tweets by Coca Cola India Twitter handle are doing the talking.

The global approach seems to be leaving no room for local improvisation. At the end, it all boils down to finding the right balance between budget and sales. As per Business Standard, India and China feature among the least soft drink consuming markets for Coke – far lower than Bhutan, Brazil, Maldives and Sri Lanka. As part of its global plan, Coca Cola India will be getting out of the low-margin bottling and distribution business, and try to increase consumption in these markets.

Coca-Cola has been immensely creative in its marketing tactics over the years: whether it is inventing automatic fountain dispensers, opening happiness through experiential marketing in a socially-connected world or serving micro content to the smart digital natives. The ever-evolving brand has been taking one global step at a time, treading carefully over dropping sales and never letting go of the magic in its campaigns.

It’ll be good to see some more desi versions but looking forward to watch some original Indian ‘Taste the Feeling’ ads. That way it can hope to increase consumption habits in India.