Iconic Ads: Pepsi – Hi, I Am Sanjana

Pepsi was selling a dream to the youth through an unrealistic situation. The underlying message was Pepsi was the right choice – for success

1993, post-liberalization, cable television was taking off.

Entertainment had changed and there was more of it. The younger consumers were demanding and brand conscious.

Pepsi Vs Coke had not yet happened but Coke was due for a launch. The tussle was Pepsi Vs Thums Up.

Pepsi’s initial campaigns were successful (Right Choice etc.). Now was the time to bring in a popular star – and it was Aamir Khan, loved by the youth and a reflection of them. Opposite him were two girls who were not famous.

Aamir got soaked, battered, locked out. All for getting a Pepsi and then Sanju happened!

A fantasy for many, reality for Aamir!

Pepsi was selling a dream to the youth through an unrealistic situation. And it worked with the celebrity status of Aamir, the attractiveness of the girls, the chemistry between the three, sexual appeal, humour, a good storyline and lots of entertainment; without taking away the fact that the hero was Pepsi!

The underlying message was Pepsi was the right choice – for success (of different kinds).

The HTA team led by Abhinav Dhar and included Mehernosh Shapoorjee did a great job of adapting the Pepsi commercial made in the U.S. with Michael J. Fox. It was directed by Prahlad Kakkar.

One girl was Ritu Chaudhuri and Sanju was Aishwarya Rai. Aishwarya was launched by Prahlad in this commercial (pre-Miss World days).

Before launching Aishwarya Rai, the agency wanted to look at one more option, but Kakkar told them: “I am sorry; they don’t make them in twos. We need Aishwarya as Sanjana. There are no options.” BTW Aishwarya took 21 takes for this shot! She was a newbie then and was very nervous.

The rest is history.

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