Iconic Ads: Pepsi – Nothing Official About It

Pepsi had lost its bid to become the official sponsor of the tournament. There was panic, when Anuja came up with the solution

The 1996 Cricket World Cup was a proxy to celebrate the liberalized India – a battleground for the cola MNCs that had come in. A lot was at stake. 

Pepsi had lost its bid to become the official sponsor of the tournament & instead, Coke had won. There was panic in Pepsi. Pepsi & cricket were closely linked & this was a big blow.

Pepsi & HTA were worried when one of the juniors casually said- “what’s the problem if we are not the official sponsors, why can’t we be the unofficial ones?” This small incident gave birth to the tagline.

The junior was Anuja Chauhan Alva. Every brand was screaming about how they were the official partners. So, one night she randomly wrote that “there’s nothing official about it” plus two more options. Incidentally, she was the junior-most writer. When she showed it to Shankar Rajan ( the client servicing head) & Sabyasachi Zap Sengupta (her boss), they loved it. 

Vibha Rishi, who was leading marketing at Pepsi at the time, bought it. The team gambled on using the whole line in English without any translations. Prahlad Kakkar did the television commercials.

Anuja then went off to have a baby. Little did she know she had created an anthem.

This was the first instance of ambush marketing in India 

As an official sponsor, Coke’s advertising was lost, it was too official! It was the voice of the establishment.  

On the other hand, Pepsi smashed all attempts with a simple but crucial insight: a new generation of Indian fans were fed up with the existing situation and want to rise against the status quo. It captured the imagination of a young Indian willing to throw away the controls of the past. 

Why even Dickie Bird, was shown making crazy gestures

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