What can you learn from a soft drink?
Well, for starters, you can learn how to build a huge industrial empire from a nutritionally worthless collection of air, water, and chemicals. Surely, never in the history of American industry such an unnecessary product would have made so much profit.
You can also learn about the significance of advertising. Soft drinks would not have gone from curious afterthought to supermarket mainstay and cultural powerhouse without powerful and effective advertising.
Throughout its years of manufacturing and marketing, Coca Cola, Pepsi-Cola and 7UP have always been the three soft drink brands leading the pack – although 7UP got left behind in the "Cola Wars" of the 1960s and 1970s and other lemon-lime alternatives consistently secured 3rd place for most of the 20th century.
In 1967, 7UP introduced the UNCOLA advertising campaign, which sent 7UP sales rocketing nationwide. The tag immediately became popular and remained synonymous with 7UP, despite subsequent new slogans.
In the late 1980s, 7UP introduced Cool Spot, which was the anthropomorphic red dot in the 7UP trademark. Spot rapidly became a popular character represented on licensed items throughout the nation and he also spawned a video game which reigned as the best corporate ad game in the history of video games.
I remember 7UP from the time of Fido Dido, which replaced Cool Spot as the brand mascot in the 1990s. The fact that a simple character with a triangular face and eight locks of stand-up hair could dominate the era is proof that simple creativity works.
These simple mascots that ruled our generation and actually had an impact at that time have faded away with time but will definitely remain figures that are going to be remembered by those who lived through those days when life was simple.
Nowadays, all concepts do is complicate the simple things in life. A single campaign has so many contradictions within itself that the product itself ends up losing its identity. The new 7UP ‘Simple Ji, 7UP Pi’ campaign is one such example.
In the 7UP Entertainment Refreshment commercial, it shows the callousness of life that the dramas of today show. And then they make the statement ‘Inn dramon ka chat khara hazam nahi hua na? - Life ka channel on kar key jio’.
In its second Time Refreshment commercial, it actually shows what a person’s ‘life channel’ is all about, which is apparently not very different from the ‘dramon ka chatkhara’. Sadly, in one’s ‘life-channel’, work deadlines, parents and life partners are portrayed as issues. Here they suggest ‘Thora apnay liyey waqt nikaal ke ji’.
So what exactly is happening here? One message is clearly contradicting the other and both are part of the same campaign. Bottom-line is that one should shove every issue in life to one side, sit back and relax and live for themselves.
It is no more that refreshing product that made life entertaining with a soda-bubble firing character or with a gawky character sketch that would come to life. It is not that drink that once used to uplift you but a mere excuse to get away from one’s real life. What does this product do now? Make you indifferent about your real life dilemmas? There will certainly always remain a difference between concepts that are internationally renowned and those that are only targeting our local market, but the point is that those concepts were simple and memorable without them having to say so. Ironically, their ‘Simple Ji’ mantra just isn’t so simple anymore.
So if it’s not about making profit or effective advertising anymore, it makes me come back to my question – what can you really learn from a soft drink?
The writer is a New Media Design Manager at Dawn.com