Cafe Cuba’s debut ad talks of a revolution in the soft drink market. But will the new brand be able to stand up to its entrenched rivals?
Campaign: Coffee Revolution
Brand: Cafe Cuba
Company : Parle Agro
Agency: Creativeland Asia (Image: Reuters)
The film opens on a make-shift laboratory where three young men in battle fatigues are carrying out some experiments. A decanter bubbles over with some frothy liquid while a can is stamped with a star. Outside on the street a long trailer sporting the word ‘Cola’ on its doors passes by. The three walk out solemnly and knock at the door of a bearded, middle-aged man who seems to have been waiting for their arrival, and brandish a newly minted can of Cafe Cuba. Next we see cans of Cafe Cuba being exchanged surreptitiously at street corners, at back alleys and even stored in telephone boxes along the roads.
Suddenly somebody gives these young people a chase as they run away, somersaulting over cars and iron gates— the enforcement officer is surprised to find a can of Cafe Cuba lobbed at him. We next see people at a bar taking swigs of Cafe Cuba and finally the revolution breaks out.
The young people hijack a Cola trailer, fill it with Cafe Cuba cans and put up the Cafe Cuba flag atop the truck. Soon the city reverberates with the power of Cafe Cuba. The young revolutionaries now stride towards a tall building, purportedly the nerve centre of the old cola company where the old Cola logo still shines, and soon a new message beacons: Tasted Cafe Cuba?. The film ends with the spurring slogan of the revolution, the question, ‘Tasted Café Cuba?’ and an invitation to ‘Join the Coffee Revolution’.
Our Take: Think Cuba and you think of revolutions, anti-imperialism, idealistic young men Che Guevera style. So with a name like Cafe Cuba, a revolution was mandatory for the newbie brand. It will certainly require a revolution to oust Coke and Pepsi from their perches. And that Parle Agro has been able to depict well enough.
The look—the Chevrolets and the Dodges on the streets, the bearded leaders, the thick framed glasses—all hark back to the sixties when revolutions were the order of the day—and the attention to detail is praiseworthy.
The storyline itself is intriguing and is able to keep the viewer’s interest alive till the last shot even though the ad is quite long. The indirect reference to Coke—the trailer with the word ‘Cola’ written on it, the building with the Cola sign beaming down—is perhaps an acknowledgement of its formidable rivals. Cafe Cuba marks Parle Agro’s re-entry into the carbonated soft drinks market since it sold its iconic brands Thums Up, Gold Spot, Limca and Citra to Coca-Cola in 1993. The battle has just begun. Whether it will die out without a whimper or will get stronger by the day remains to be seen, for it’s the customer who will declare the final winner. It’s over to the market now. (Banasree Purkayastha)