For a company of its size, vintage and pedigree, Coca-Cola’s advertising in India has been positively pathetic since day one. But its new commercial, shot by Rajeev Menon, is distinctly, even if disgustingly and disagreeably, Indian.
Centred around a bottle of Coke that goes missing on a train while it is traversing through a tunnel, the ad elevates poor etiquette into the great social unifier. Hearing one belch in public gives many the heebie-jeebies; to see a whole bogie revel in the collective oral gas released by all, is, well, yucky.
Nevertheless, the sight of “communal belching” (because “sabka thanda ek“) on national television is interesting. In that it asks if our sophistication about what is a natural biological reaction of drinking an aerated drink is not just a mere put-on, if not completely un-Indian.
The commercial is interesting for one other reason. The Hindi version features the man all Bollywood seems to think will be the first Indian actor to win an Oscar, Aamir Khan as the train attendant. And the Tamil version stars the national award winning actor Vikram.
Who’s the better actor on the evidence of the ad? You make the pick.
Cross-posted on sans serif