Our world is full of secrets. Especially in this day and age where people want to be ‘first’ for everything, from PSL tickets to Sapphire Sales. One thing, however, that isn’t a secret is my love for Pepsi. Love not just because I help run one of the largest (in Asia) manufacturers of the stuff. But also because, no other brand has been as synonymous with Pakistani culture since the 80’s as Pepsi.
Yes it’s not Pakistan’s first or own brand, nor does it tickle every desi hipster’s (also known as “burger’s”) fantasies.
However, when you think of Pakistani cricket, what brand has been sprawled over our jerseys? Pepsi.
What brand was responsible of introducing legends like Strings and Vital Signs to the world? Pepsi!
What brand’s slogans went viral before every little kid had a phone? Pepsi!
What brand was there when we won the 1992 World Cup? Pepsi!
What brand was there when eP and Arroh went head to head in the first Battle of the Bands? Pepsi!
So when Pepsi launches a new campaign and I’m one of the first people to watch it, there’s very little doubt that I’d get excited.
After watching it however, containing my excitement was the real problem. Trust me, however hard it may be to trust a random guy on the internet, this is Pepsi’s best Pakistani ad yet.
Let’s Talk Memories
“But wait, Nusair that’s a very tall claim”, you say!
Well yes, you’re right to say that. But in Pakistan alone, Pepsi has a very rich history of great ad campaigns. Many of us, including myself, have grown up with them. So much has happened to convince us to drink a Pepsi over the years. The Pakistani Cricket team played an impromptu tape ball match in a crowded airport terminal over a single Pepsi. On top of that, apparently all it took to get Shahid Afridi and Saeed Ajmal playing cricket was a Pepsi. The ever radiant Reema became omnipresent thanks to the magic of Pepsi. And the list goes on and on.
Let’s not forget about the logos and jingles. I remember a time when all my friends would yell ‘Yeh Dil Mange Aur’ followed by an ‘aha’.
Some years later, during one fateful Ramadan, I was repeatedly asked ‘kinse bola tha Pepsi pe paanch rupay kum kardo?’
I honestly still don’t have an answer to that.
Last but certainly not the least, last year saw ‘Jee Lay Har Pal’ defining a new generation.
This ad though, is just special. It is a reminder of the ones that have preceded it.
Why This is the Best One So Far
It starts off with a lone Pepsi cooler at the end of a dark hall. Rock music blaring. Fawad Khan walks towards it, opens the door. It’s like the heavens split open to present him with a single vintage can, as angels sing. The can takes him and us on a journey through the generations, through all the memories and all the feels.
Starting at a drive-in cinema, a relic of days gone by. Another sip of Pepsi and we’re at the disco with Zoheb Hassan, dancing like deewane.
The next sip and we’re in the 1990’s. Pakistan has just won the Cricket World Cup and Vital Signs is reminding us who we are. We even get to see some vintage posters and Shahi Hassan himself.
It’s not a Pepsi ad without at least one cricket legend making an appearance. Wasim Akram hands Fawad the next can. And suddenly we’re once again in the presence of an omnipresent and radiant Reema. Fawad’s reaction to her khuli zulfain is how I feel about this ad at this point.
Another sip and we’re back to the present. Just like Fawad, we’re all smiling at this point. Having been thoroughly doused with feels. But the ride isn’t over yet. Yes the generations before us have had some good times and created some awesome memories. But now it’s our turn.
Isn’t that right Kashmir?
Battle of the Bands Season Two winners take the stage, to bring us home. Their presence is to remind us that the ride has, still, only just begun. We are the Pepsi Generation.
And it’s our turn to not just live up to the legacy left to us, but to create our own.
The Pepsi Generation
Just like every Coke ad, the end here is also my favourite part. The reasons though couldn’t be more different. I’m not glad that it’s over, because I’m just about to click replay. I am however left instead with probably the craziest ear-to-ear smile. The kind to rival the Cheshire Cat’s. The ad ends with Fawad drinking Pepsi. And as he drinks, he’s replaced by each of the celebrities featured in the ad. As the celebrities cycle through, so do the cans and bottles of Pepsi.
It’s a simple sequence but in my opinion, it’s the most powerful visual of the whole ad. It shows the passage of time. It shows that generations change, that people change. But that some things remain constant.
We may come from different times, with different ideas and priorities. But there will always be something that binds us. No matter who we are, how old or young, liberal or conservative; we all are the same generation.