It is said that media is a powerful tool to drive change, it is also said that brands that influence must have a social responsibility to stand up for causes that matter. The recent Coca-Cola Middle East advertisement is a great example of how a brand can stand up and use social media to drive in a social message. The advertisement was released to celebrate the recent Saudi Arabian Government’s move to lift the ban from women being allowed to drive.
You can watch the video here:
The advertisement shows a father teaching his daughter how to drive a car. Initially, the daughter is hesitant and unsure of herself, the father then opens a bottle of Coca Cola and places it on the dashboard, and the girl drives again trying to ensure that the bottle doesn’t fall off. When the bottle does fall off, the father catches it and offers it to his daughter as a reward for a good attempt. If you ask me, the advertisement is a celebration of a disruptive change. It is finally showing us a middle east where the father is encouraging his daughter to move forward.
However, there are also naysayers who have criticized the timing of the ad citing that if coca cola wanted to take a stand then they should have come up with this communication earlier in support of the cause and not when ruling has already been passed. We at Paul Writer reached out to a few marketing heads for their opinion on this much talked after advertisement, here is what they have to say:
While this ad has faced some unfavorable comparisons to the Pepsi Ad starring Kendall Jenner, Pratik Mazumder, Chief Marketing Officer, Times Internet argues otherwise. He believes that “The advertisement was in response to a ruling from the Middle East Government unlike the Pepsi Ad where the failure of the creative execution of the advertisement made it look like the brand was mocking a very sensitive issue.” He further adds that “equality between genders is an un-debatable truth; however it is not a reality world over. When a brand like Coca Cola saw a socially relevant opportunity to stand up for this cause; it created a beautiful ad, celebrating the relationship between a father and a daughter.”
His only critique, “I wish the music had a little more-middle-eastern flavor.”
Deepali Naair, Chief Marketing & Digital Officer, IIFL Wealth believes that “In light of the recent change in Saudi Arabia, I think the advertisement is very contextual. I loved the metaphor of the father teaching his daughter how to drive, with the Coke bottle weaved in so well into the story board. It sends out a very positive message, along with the emotional touch of a father teaching his daughter.”
“The dad teaching his daughter driving is indeed endearing, heartwarming and brilliant. Given that it is not too often that brands espouse controversial social causes, it is mighty bold of Coca Cola to take up the gauntlet of social evangelization and celebrate this positive culture change moment.”- says Kiran Veigas, Program Director and Head, Corporate Strategy and Marketing, Happiest Minds Technologies. He also wishes that they had shown the father share the bottle of Coca-Cola with his daughter.
Carona Mohapatra, VP & Head Digital Marketing, Janalakshmi Financial Services found the ad “sweet.” She further points out that, “We are used to Indian ads like Amul commenting on every national and international issue and we do find Amul’s humorous and unique take on the same and enjoy them very much. This ad is not so different even though the treatment of the ad is.”
Adding on to her comments, she argues, “For me the ad is a win for Coca-Cola where it has tried to showcase a topical but very important development for a country like Saudi Arabia but still remaining true to what Coca-Cola stands for. I am sure the ad will draw numerous comparisons with Pepsi Kendal Jenner ad but personally, I feel that the Coke ad is in no way trying to trivialize any issue the way the Pepsi ad did.
Will this ad get talked about and put the focus on Coke in Saudi Arabia? Yes, it will. Will it sell more bottles for Coke vis-à-vis Pepsi is an answer only Saudis can answer.”