The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Salman, taste thunder

New Delhi, April 2: Wait till Salman Khan sees this.

Coca-Cola India has snapped up the hottest couple in Bollywood that is causing all the fizz — Aishwarya Rai and Vivek Oberoi — in a new television commercial with the ad plug that reads: Piyo Thanda Jiyo Thanda.

But it contains material that may make jiyo thanda (live cool) difficult for the trio of Salman, Aishwarya and Vivek, given the swirl of controversy around them.

The flick shows the duo in an urban open-air cafe setting, where love is expressed and reciprocated through, well, the mobile phone.

At a sensational news conference yesterday, Vivek accused Salman of making 41 threat calls on his cellphone, telling him to leave Aishwarya alone.

A Coke spokesperson said, “Aishwarya Rai has already been endorsing brand Coke. It is Vivek Oberoi who will be endorsing brand Coke for the first time. The duo has signed two films together, a Hindi film and a Hollywood movie. However, it seems that it is in the Coke commercial where the duo will come together for the first time.”

“Come together” on screen, that is.

The campaign will hit most of the satellite and cable channels over the weekend.

Salman was the poster boy on television, plugging Thums Up, the cola brand that Coke bought from Ramesh Chauhan’s Parle in the early nineties. He was bumped off the Thums Up ad after he became embroiled in a lawsuit over shooting of black bucks in Rajasthan and has since been replaced by another brawn-and-bicep star — Akshay Kumar.

Coke, however, maintains that the allegations against Salman had nothing to do with his removal from the Thums Up ad. His contract was not renewed when it expired. “The thanda matlab Coca-Cola campaign, with Aamir Khan, which recently won several awards, will continue to be aired,” the Coke spokesperson said.

The new Aishwarya-Vivek campaign, an extension of the concept of Coca-Cola as the generic name for thanda or, in common parlance, a soft drink, will be targeted at urban audiences, unlike “thanda matlab” which addresses the rural masses.

Coke, which always prefers to keep mum on the money it pays stars to peddle its prod- ucts, was silent on this ad budget, too.

The Coke advertising account is with McCann Erickson, and the creative director for the ad is Prasoon Joshi, the Coke spokesperson said.

Coke’s new TV commercial will be supported through an integrated marketing programme of print, outdoor, cinema and ground activation.

Arch rival Pepsi is reviving the ‘Fido dido’ character in a new summer campaign for its clear lemon drink 7 Up, which will hit the mainline TV channels the day after tomorrow. This 7 Up mascot was introduced in the early nineties and took a time-out in the mid-nineties.

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