The pursuit of happiness

Written by Sukalp Sharma | Sukalp Sharma | Updated: Jan 29 2013, 11:41am hrs
Campaign name: Crazy for Happiness

Brand: Coca-Cola

Company: Coca-Cola India

Agency: McCann Erickson

The Campaign

The ad opens on a girl riding a bicycle who gives a high-five on the raised hands of strangers hailing an autorickshaw or a taxi. Similarly, a tired Santa finds a bottle of Coke as a return gift under a Christmas tree, a diner gives away a bottle of Coke to the doorman while leaving the restaurant and a young man is shown feeding stray dogs. All through, the song Haan main crazy hoon plays in the background. The film ends with the voice-over: Kya aap duniya ko khush karne ke liye crazy hain (Are you crazy enough to make the world happy). The campaign's punch line is 'Khushiyaan lutao, crazy kehlao' (Spread happiness, be called crazy).

Our Take

Its dj-vu just too soon. In last weeks column, we discussed how Snickers went haywire in its execution of the desi version of one of its more popular and successful global campaigns. Pitched as the natural extension of Cokes happiness anthem of last year, Umeed wali dhoop, sunshine wali asha, this new campaign, though technically and contextually sound, doesnt really make the impact one expected it to make. In spite of being more focussed than last years happiness anthem in terms of its message and brand communication and towing Cokes global branding around happiness over the last one year, the TVC lacks the punch that one was waiting for and also doesn't fare as well on the recall value, unlike so many commendable coke ads.The brand is no stranger to some stellar ads over the years, and perhaps because of that kind of expectation, this one doesnt really make the cut to be counted among the better Coca-Cola ads.

Make no mistake, the random-acts-of-kindness message the TVC propagates does strike a chord somewhere within, after all we all ad men and reviewers included are humans. But the question to be asked is: Could this have been done better When strong positive emotions are the instruments and elements in an ad, then they better come through straight without much layering. Goodness alone works best in its simplicity. Thats where a natural comparison has to be made between this Indian commercial and the global one (called Lets Go Crazy) on the same lines by the same brand, released around the same time. Its actually that ad that dwarfs its desi avatar in everything from motivation to thought and even execution. If one sports a fleeting smile after the Indian ad, the international version leaves one with a series of inspirational goose bumps. It looks much more real, credible and affable. Even the soundtrack, Supertramps Give A Little Bit works magically, while Amit Trivedis Haan main crazy hoon done exclusively for the Indian ad settles best as mediocre. Even the crazy in the ad is not as crazy, if you know what I mean. Perhaps Coke shouldve just gone ahead and released their western version of the campaign in India as well, but of course, the motivation was to showcase local random-acts-of-kindness heroes.

All in all, no complaints as far as brand communication and its clarity and continuity are concerned. But happiness is not a slave of the rulebook and technicalities, is it The ad certainly had potential of making us happier. Unfortunately, unrealised potential often does more harm than good.

Ratings: **half