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  • Writer's pictureSamradni

Coca Cola uses a sex appeal route through Ranbir Kapoor

Updated: Mar 14, 2021

You can also listen to the podcast of this same blog post, here

For the longest time, Coca Cola advertising was one of my favorites.

But with the recent ad campaign, I’m suspecting a change in that.

If I were to ask you to define a theme for Coca Cola ads, the most common answer would be around ‘Spreading Happiness’.

Similar to its tagline, Open Happiness.

Coca-Cola, over the years, has experimented around this same zone of happiness, highlighting a relationship or a bond between friends and family alike.

So what happens when they decide to take a completely different route, something similar to the lines of Axe communication.

Does the spot do justice to what the brand stands for? Let’s analyze the TME way!

Advertising Background:

As mentioned earlier, Coca Cola has always kept their communication around ‘happiness’.

And in fact, that’s something they have adopted all over, as against keeping it specific to just India.

So from a broader perspective, their advertising makes the brand stand for a drink that is consumed with family or friends to spread happiness.

And the best part is that their communication is universal in nature, besides specifically targeting kids, their ad campaigns target everyone in general.

However, with this particular commercial, they have not only moved away from their core positioning of spreading happiness, they have in fact ventured into another segment that is already owned by many other cola brands.

Advertising Objective:

The brand clearly had an objective to move ahead or away from regular brand positioning.

Now, one school of thought believes that communication is much more evolved since it talks about the real-life scenario, where girls swooning over a hottie like Ranbir Kapoor is common news.

Maybe 20 years back, this communication may not have worked well.

Having said that, this same space has been explored by a brand like Axe for a while now, and it's ok to say that Axe owns this space!

So for a brand like Coca Cola, trying their own stint into that space, may or may not work out.

Another school of thought feels that the brand is positioning itself as a ‘refresher or re-energized brand’, but even that space is totally taken up by Red Bull.

And highlighting dull moments in your life has been done to death by many brands.

My bigger curiosity revolves around why did the brand think it was necessary to have a switch?

Advertising Strategy:

We have seen a lot of brands in 2020, resorting to communication styles away that are different from what they have normally communicated.

The best examples of that being Cadbury or Colgate, but having said that it all depends on how well the process of strategizing has been for the brand.

For Coca-Cola, the strategy was centered around targeting the teens and making it a more ‘youthful’ brand.

In this 30sec spot itself, I could relate to so many other brands working in a similar space, there were hints of Axe, of course, Virgin mobile, FastTrack, and even Pepsi for that matter.

Even if I try to look for a deeper insight to understand what led to this shift in communication, I am not able to find one.

Can you? Let us know in the comments below!

Again, I am in no way saying that the ad will not work for the brand, its too soon to comment on that, but I just truly loved the whole ‘happiness’ wala feeling associated with Coca Cola’s communication

Advertising Execution:

Keeping aside the recent nepotism angle, Ranbir Kapoor is still someone who has a huge fan following, no denying that.

So from a brand ambassador's point of view, the communication worked well.

In fact, Ranbir has been the brand ambassador for the brand for quite some time now, and the recent ads starring him and Paresh Rawal have been quite an audience pleaser.

Let’s talk about this ad campaign now, it’s a simple 30sec spot, highlighting two different dance forms of western and classical.

The product window of Ranbir consuming the icy cold bottle of Coke, works brilliantly, no second thoughts on that one.

But not much can go wrong with it anyway, can it?

Advertising Results & Ratings:

Again as mentioned earlier, it may be too soon to talk about the results, but we can surely include the TME ratings:

Relevance – 6/10

Creativity- 6/10

Strategy- 6/10

TG Focus- 5/10

Impact- 7/10

Overall Rating: 6

Now I haven’t been too critical here, but I feel the relevance that the brand has developed over a while, doesn’t shine through in the communication at all.

The impact created, maybe a little strong, given the presence of Ranbir Kapoor.

Advertising Learnings:

Let’s look at my top 3 learnings from this communication

1. Drastic shift from your communication style may not always work

Of course, this learning comes through an assumption that communication may not work that well.

But for a brand like Coca-Cola, which has been so very true to its identity, this drastic change may not work well.

2. A brand ambassador can help save a bad day

Well, this is definitely true in the case of this ad.

The brand ambassador following helps in creating that much-needed preference for the ad.

I myself have seen Ranbir fans drooling over the commercial, these weren’t marketing students, but hell their TG isn’t marketing students either, so of course, it works!

3. 2020 was a year to experiment

One of the most common messages that all of us received this new year, revolved around cursing 2020 as the most dreadful year.

But if we think from a brand’s perspective, it actually helped many brands in coming up with unique and innovative communications.

So from a brand’s perspective, this year was the best, yet, to experiment with multiple things!


As someone who has loved Coca Cola advertising over the years, this one came as a shock.

And while I’ve tried having no bias whatsoever, I really hope this communication helps the brand, because whatever said and done, Thanda Matlab Coca Cola will always be there.


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