Dear Coca Cola Pakistan, it’s not the Pakistanis not getting your ‘cool idea’, “Extremist” is a derogatory term. And no amount of flag-waving, anthem-chanting, sugary sweet dose of patriotism can change that.
Coca Cola probably lost it somewhere in translation. Extremist is not someone who would go to any extreme. As per the Oxford Dictionary, an extremist is:
A person who holds extreme political or religious views, especially one who advocates illegal, violent, or other extreme action.
You cannot “redefine” the term in any other way. Not in a poorly executed 60 seconds TVC at least.
To Coke’s credit, they tried. But execution was not good either. Let’s see what went wrong with this ad. First, have a look at the ad:
Coca Cola Extremely Pakistani TVC
They tried something new, and different. But that’s the problem with doing something “different”. It’s not easy to establish your narrative, or to change an established narrative. Not everyone would understand your perspective. Especially if there are established definitions of certain words and phrases. You cannot just “spin” it and change the meaning altogether. When you say extremism, for example, there is only one thing that comes to mind. Extremists. And not of the good kind.
It’s the first 10 seconds
10 seconds is a lot of time for a TVC. First 10 seconds of the Coke ad set the tone of the ad.
This is how it starts:
And then the audio kicks in: “lo.. aik aur intiha pasand paida ho gya. dunya sach kehti hai, hum intiha pasand he tou hain“.
By that time, majority of the viewers have probably established their opinion already. For some, this would be a point of no return. This could be too much to undo for any amount of spin you might ad later on. But Coke still tried…
30 seconds of “spin”
For next 30 seconds, the Coke ad tries to spin the term “extremist” and present the other side of extremism. Trying to establish that Pakistanis’ go to the extremes in every emotion / event of life. khushi ki intiha, pyar, udaasi, jazbaat, junoon ki intiha.
With “hum aik hain” playing in the background, this should have sounded like an awesome script. It goes on…
20 seconds of “Hum aik hain”
The spin ends with “Intiha k Pakistani“. And then there is the typical Pakistani ads’ clueless dance with “hum aik hain” music playing in the background, young folks dancing pointlessly, waving flags and drinking Coca Cola.
But guess what’s still on viewers’ minds? Extremism! And that first frame. “Every minute 10
Pakistanis extremists are born…”.