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  • Writer's pictureKanhaiya Maheshwary

The Long Shot - 3 Brand Campaigns that tried to bring India and Pakistan together

Fierce competitors on the cricket field. Bitter rivals in world politics. Enemies on the line of control. For two nations that were once a single entity, it's heartbreaking that the world has to see a side of India and Pakistan where these two nations are only defined as foes in every field. Despite all the political differences, there is no denying that so much of our culture is shared - from the way we dress to the movies we watch, and from the songs that we like to play to our food preparations.

Despite all the wars and skirmishes on the line of control, some optimists still harbor the hope that given our commonalities and shared heritage, one day there will be peace among the nations. After all, there is so much to gel over and bond. And a few advertisers actually had the courage to tell stories about Indians and Pakistanis bonding. Here are 3 such brand campaigns that made people on either side of the border teary eyed.

Coca Cola - Small Vending Machines

Ad Agency: Leo Burnett

Folks at Coca Cola, like me, were of the opinion that despite everything else happening at an official, political level, the citizens of the two country can be brought closer if they are given a means to communicate; especially, if there is a medium through which they an share some happy moments. Dialogues at a civilian level are the key to harboring feeling of friendship.

To execute this, Coke setup Small World Machines, created exclusively for this project. These vending machines were equipped with full frame web cams and screens, and were were set up both the countries at several high-traffic venues. These machines created an environment where people could see their counterparts from the other country, share gestures, movements, dance together, and have some unforgettable moments. The reward? A free Coke.

A free can of Coke, or even thousands of them, is hardly a price to pay if it does anything to bring people of these two nations together.

Kohinoor Basmati Rice - True Taste Unites

Ad Agency - Crayons Advertising

This is an ad that plays on the common food culture between the two nations. This ad was targeted towards Indians and Pakistanis living in foreign lands. As is the case a lot of times, whenever Indians and Pakistanis find their paths crossing in an alien country, they are most likely to be amicable and even forge friendships. It's commonly seen across the UK, Canada, Australia, and many other countries. Hence, while the ad may not resonate as much with the citizens still residing in their home countries, it certainly draws the non-residing people in.

The ad shows how love for common culture can bring people together, and in this case, it's an Indian guy and a Pakistani girl bonding over 'biryani', an extremely famous rice delicacy equally enjoyed in both the countries.

Google - The Reunion

Ad Agency - Ogilvy

This time, I have saved the best for the last! This is not an ad - it feels like a lifetime in itself as you follow the story of two childhood friends who have been separated by borders. The partition was, and is still remembered as a harrowing time by people on both sides. Therefore, the strategy to use partition as a backdrop for promoting the search capabilities of Google could have backfired terribly. Instead, it created a movie that made a large majority of the viewers cry.

With the disparity of old age and blurring memory memories looming at large over the Indian friend Baldev, he just remembers a few details about his old friend Yusuf who is now in Pakistan. Baldev's grand-daughter stitches those together, courtesy of Google's powerful search indexing, and manages to reach Yusuf's grandson. The climax results in... Well, you got to watch it yourself. It's one of the most powerful works of advertising, and definitely one highlighting the best use of Google. After all, it finds two people their entire childhood.


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