Big Blue strikes back - Pepsi Ramadan 2014

Hello friends,

It is without doubt that Pepsi has always been a moving force in the Egyptian advertising scene.. Creating ads that leave a mark in our memory for ages now.. For the past couple of years they've been quite idle, leaving Coke to dominate the ad scene and rise to the spotlight... Until last year..
Ramadan 2013 was a game changer for the CSD market, when Pepsi brought us this wonderful copy that took us back to our childhood days and brought tears to everyone’s eyes.. 

Worked out beautifully for them, Pepsi ad was the talk of town and our FB newsfeeds turned Blue overnight..
What we’re about to witness this year won’t be any different, I am writing this only 1 hour after the release of the Pepsi Ramadan 2014 ad on Youtube; it hasn’t gone on TV yet; and my newsfeed is already FLODDED with shares of the Pepsi film..

Now this is a very emotional copy, well written; well casted and well shot.. Including the biggest and brightest stars of the past.. be it Mama Nagwa & Bo2loz, Four M, The Egyptian Squad of 1990, Hesham Abbas & 7ameed or the star of this year’s copy; George Sidhom.. For those who don’t know, George Sidhom has been terribly ill for the past 10+ years and was nearly in vegetative state, bringing him back was a truly pleasant surprise.

While this is a great piece of work indeed; there are 2 things that I don’t quite get about the copy.

  1. The ad does not give a Ramadan feel … So while gathering prominent figures of the Egyptian showbiz scene; none of them have anything to do with Ramadan (with the exception of the Boogi w Tamtam).. Last year they got all Ramadan characters, so maybe this year they run out of cast? Or is the point here is to “nekammel lammetna” regardless?
  2. There’s a big disconnect in the demographic targeting of this ad vs what Pepsi is doing globally.. So in their global World Cup TVC, they have Janelle Monae singing in the background;  a singer only known to the youngsters (and Nikki Minaj in the one before); clearly targeting teens and tweens.. Now they come in this copy and get a band formed in 1979, crew of a legendary masra7eyya that broke stage in 1981 and a song duo that was a smash-hit alright; but in 1992.. During my marketing studies, kan fi Professor tayyeb ebn 7alal that told us that Pepsi talks to 16-24s.. if that is still the case, then let me assure you that this target probably has no idea who are the people in the ad in the first place…
    So for a 20 year old, Four M had stopped singing by the time he/she was 2 and he/she weren't even conceived when Egypt made it to the World Cup with this squad. 
    Personally speaking, at the age of 29 I had trouble recognizing Gamal Abdel Hamid or Hesham Yakan..

    I had the same comment on last year’s copy honestly, that spoke to the 80s generation.. This year they even took it a step further by talking to the 70s generation… Let’s see, maybe in a couple of years’ time we’ll see a Pepsi ad starring Naguib El Ri7ani and Sharafanta7.
    The direction of the company for the past year or so has been #Yalla_Now... now mnein bas... momken tb2a #Walla_Zaman... azbat!
Nevertheless, it is indeed a great copy that I’m sure will touch the hearts of millions of Egyptians this year..
That said, it doesn’t just stop at the copy.. The whole objective (which will probably be revealed in days to come) and was apparent in the last 30 seconds of the ad; is for you to take a picture of an old “lamma” you had and renact with the same people and send it to their website.. once you do, they’ll collate all the pictures and light up the Fanoos in AbdelMon3em Riad square… very smart

So what do you think….  will we see more people sharing old pictures of themselves or their names written on a Coke can?

This is the first year that I cannot foresee a winner... as there is real competition..
We’ll have to wait and see
Stay tuned


Medhat Amin said...

in a nutshell.. i'm quite surprised that Pepsi has gone the nostalgic route yet again this year!! It might have worked well for them in terms of certain emotional and consumer connectivity KPIs s because of the Ramadan icons they used then such as Nelly - famous for her Fawazeer or Foad Al Mohandes for his famous Candid Camera and Fatouta /Samir Ghanem for his Fawazeer too and of course the facts that a lot of Egyptians haven't seen these icons in a long time and also how everyone last year was hoping Egypt would go back to the "Good old days".

However; trying to connect with the Egyptian population in Ramadan this year over even more nostalgia when Coke is out kicking ass is just an epic fail in my opinion.
I heard arguments about the core target group for Pepsi being 15-29 making this ad irrelevant to their audience which I think is a flawed argument to be honest as a brand with such strong heritage such as Pepsi or Coke and with such high CSD consumption across the entire Arab world during Ramadan is not looking at scoring high with the 15-29s but rather score with the whole country and start a family conversation.

Nontheless; the real insight comes from how well last year's ad performed across the general public and that's measured in both market share (sales) and ad recall stats which showed at the end of Ramadan that Pepsi was on top. I can see where BBDO Cairo was coming from this year with their thinking but to be honest, in light of what Coke has done adapting their Australian initiative and how the ENTIRE country (young and old) are out looking for their names on Coke cans, I don't think Pepsi had the right strategy this year and will definitely suffer in both Sales and other KPIs. The Before and Now initiative is smart though... in a way, but I still see people obsessed more with a personalized Coke can over the possibility of having a picture you took become one of 100000 pictures on a fanoos in a public square.

With a very heavy heart i say.... Coke wins this one hands down.

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