Pepsico India, which was betting big on the World Cup this summer has pulled Blue Billion campaign on which the company has spent Rs 350 crore. Even as the campaign has been yanked off air, the cola major is said to be applying finishing touches to another commercial which was in the works, if India lost in the World Cup.
“We are in the midst of making suitable adjustments to the campaign platform to make way for the reality of India's loss,'' confirmed a senior Pepsi official. JWT, the agency for Pepsi, one of the main sponsors of the World Cup, is “hurrying through with their new advertisement to counter India's loss. The new ad will be on air soon,” said an advertising official.
Needless to say, this one will not feature any cricketers. Sources in the ad world maintain that Pepsi ambassador Shah Rukh Khan and former Miss World Priyanka Chopra, also a Pepsi brand ambassador, would most likely feature in the new ad, which will aim to “appease jangled nerves”. Both JWT and Pepsi remained tight-lipped about the new ad.
Pepsi has also pulled out its commercial 'Ladega to Jeetega', which featured Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Instead, the company has started running a campaign featuring Shah Rukh Khan. “We were thinking of alternate options even before the start of the World Cup, just in case we needed them. Only we didn't expect it to be so soon,” revealed an advertising senior at JWT.
Many of Pepsi's most loved campaigns like 'Nothing Official About It', 'Men In Blue', 'Oooh Aaah India, Aaah Yaa India' and 'Blue Billion' have all centred around cricket.
“Cricket has been a great medium to sell our brand and we have launched many stunners on the back of cricket,” said another senior Pepsi official, adding, “Pepsi stands for connecting with the consumer and taking the properties which consumers have as a connect. As long as India has a connect with cricket, we are there. I believe, the recent debacle has not taken away the passion, it has only heightened it.”
For the World Cup, the idea was to build on the Blue Billion property created last year. Pepsi had also rolled out a number of initiatives including the launch of 'Pepsi Blue', a music video featuring its brand ambassadors, and various promotions. However, Pepsi Blue was slotted only for the two-month duration of the World Cup.
In February, Pepsi launched Pepsi Gold - a cola with a dash of lemon in a gold bottle, which symbolised the gold-coloured World Cup Trophy. As the official said, “It continues to be available and will run its course.”