Article : Bombay Times. Times of India 8/4/1998  
Taste the bunder

As the cola wars hot up the consumers are going into a fizzy tizzy, writes Martin D’Souza

The Cola war is generating more heat than fizz. It’s becoming bold, brash and, of course, there’s a lot of monkeying around. All this on the electronic medium using sports, where cricket is supposed to carry the message far and wide. A nice platform for the two cola giants to get even with each other and settle scores off the field.

Their sparring had first begun during the World Cup jointly hosted by India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in 1996. Many believed it was just a one-off battle to coincide with the mega event. But that was just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. Today, if one sits to watch a ‘live’ coverage the cola battle flashes across with alarming alacrity. No commercial break is complete without the sparring-ads doing the rounds. What is the ultimate aim of the involved companies, one begins to wonder. Certainly, one has had enough of this childish display of creative emotional outburst.

Coca Cola have this famous slogan... "Eat cricket, sleep cricket, drink only Coca Cola." Pepsi, cleverly released an ad, obviously hitting out at Coke in a big way, with a little help from the Indian skipper, Mohammed Azharuddin, and Ajay Jadeja. The voice-over yells EAT; Azhar bites a chunk off the bat while
Jadeja chews on a pad. SLEEP, the voice yells again. Both cricketers sleep on their respective gear. DRINK, the voice hollers once again. Red plastic cups slide up to the two cricketers. (Who those red cups belong to everyone knows, but there is no logo, you see. Smart guys). "Naah," say the two cricketers in unison and instead opt for a Pepsi.

The Yankees may be crankies, but dumb they are not. They immediately hit back at Pepsi in a novel way. They have two monkeys doing the same thing that Azhar and Jadeja do but the line goes, `Don't be a bunder, taste the Thunder. This is to promote Thums Up, their other product. In effect, they are
killing two birds with one stone... getting even with Pepsi for their dig at Coke and making monkeys out of them while promoting Thums Up!!

Another ad that takes a dig at Pepsi is when another bunder lifts a blue crate with bottles with no brand name (obviously you know who it belongs to) and the same bunder line is repeated.

Now who are the monkeys? We, the innocent on-lookers in this corporate tamasha, Azhar, Jadeja or the cola companies? Should we taste the thunder, have more Pepsi, gulp Coke or switch to some other soft drink and let the cola wars continue.

Will this battle ever end? Going by the way things are hotting up, looks like it's gonna be one long innings. Someone should step in and diplomatically stop the cola wars. On second thoughts, why be a spoilsport. Let the fun flow. Like
they say, it tastes good till the fizz lasts.



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Copyright 2006 Martin D'Souza. All rights reserved.