North Korea. 20 June 2009.
India’s original bubbly, recently made famous by Dev D as a vodka-accompaniment, Thums-Up is facing tough times ahead. Already ridden with a vague, almost embarrassing punchline ( ‘Taste The Thunder’ ) and a step-motherly treatment by single-parent-company Coke ( “Amir and Hrithik for Coke and Akshay Kumar and Yuvika Chaudhury for us”, says a source ), Thums-Up is up against a road-block too high to cross.
“We have made Akki jump from Mexican-Motels, Indonesian Row-houses, badly designed Indian ‘buildings’, Manhattan skyscrapers, air-planes, balloons, helicopters, and even an African light-house with no light…but now, we have run out of options”, says Shibendu Ghosh of Main-Kaun-Eric-Ka-Son?, the agency holding Thums-Up’s ad-account. “This time we had a new-concept” says Shibendu excitedly. “He would jump carrying a Thums-Up…but no bottle-opener. So he lands in a bottle-opener factory…rugged machinery, hanging chains, very-animalistic…and he makes a dash for the newly minted silver opener…you know, crosses those obstacles, fights inner demons. And no, he doesn’t open it yet. He climbs whatever-is-worth-climbing and then jumps again. This time with Thums-Up AND the opener…but”, adds Shibendu sadly, “if only we had a place he has not jumped from already.”
Ad-industry veterans could only sympathize with Thums-Up’s dilemma as the problem seems to be widespread. Prasoon Dubey, from rival agency O’Rizvi and Mahinder says – “What do we do. Life Insurance companies want new euphemisms for “You are fucking going to die soon” and the best we have come up till now is ‘Jeete Raho’. And look at soap ads. How different you can be? I mean, it’s the same bathroom, same stupid piece of soap, same Kareena and even same fucking transparent water. We can’t have her jumping off a plane and bathing. That can only be done with Cola and Potato Chips. And may be sanitary napkins too.”