Pepsi builds great pre-launch PR buzz and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation thinks outside the box

Pepsi can’t wait and it seems neither can the pre-launch PR buzz!

Beverages giant Pepsi is busy whipping up pre-launch frenzy for its new ad campaign. Cashing in on the sentiments of an increasingly impatient for change young generation, the Pepsi campaign is woven around the “Oh, Yes, Abhi” or right now. The multimedia campaign which goes live on February 1st has already caused a buzz:

The video that features two huge Bollywood Stars: Priyanka Chopra and Ranbir Kapoor and the captain of the Indian cricket team: MS Dhoni is pushing the #CantWaitAbhi on Twitter.

Pepsi is well known for its ads that are near iconic. Remember the “Yeh Dil Mange More “ad and the cheeky “Nothing Official about it” ad taking a sly dig at Coca Cola’s sponsorship of the Cricket World Cup?

Will Pepsi’s “Oh Yes, Abhi” match these in the run up to IPL season in April 2013?

Mumbai’s municipal corporation racks up PR Brownie point for out of the box ideas!

Every Mumbaikar’s favourite punching bag, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), has come up with two interesting ideas for solving some of Mumbai’s civic challenges.

First came a headline that sounds crazy, but it’s true. Mumbai, plagued with mosquitoes, has sought the help of US space agency NASA for help with getting rid of them! This story in the Times of India says that "BMC now plans to order Mosquito Killing System machines developed with technical support from experts at National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Following recommendation from National Institute of Malaria Research, the BMC will order seven such machines, one for each of its zones.”

Then, on quite a roll, BMC has announced that it will offer a cash prize of one lakh rupees to the police station that manages to register the maximum number of fines against littering.

Expect soon to see NASA made machines and Mumbai cops chasing errant mosquitoes and litter bugs respectively. Shades of Peepli Live Anyone! On a serious note if this works, kudos to BMC for imaginatively addressing issues that plagues Mumbai citizens.

BT Cotton makes the green brigade well go green!

The highly-active and very visible organic food lobby in India suffered a PR setback this month. A story that has been brewing for the last two weeks, kicked off with an apology by Mark Lynas, a leading anti-GM activist to an audience at a recent farming conference in Oxford. As per this story by Mint, WSJ Lynas’ apology for his stand against BT Cotton lifts the lid off one of the most well-run and successful propaganda campaigns against GM food by a group of NGOs in recent history. It appears that science is not on the side of the anti GM food and pro organic food brigade.

It’s always hard to go against public perceptions that touch deep beliefs about food security, but as this article in the Economic Times puts it: hard facts prove that BT Cotton at least has resulted in rising cotton crop yields for India.

While higher yield may be just one part of the entire story ,this entire episode puts the spotlight on the challenges of shaping public perception around issues that require time and hard data to prove who is right. While the debate on GM still rages on, this has lessons for other issues – such as public health including development of new drugs and vaccines – that some answers just don’t fit into the instant media cycle. Both PR practitioners and journalists need time to develop issues of public importance with a basis in science.

Have you seen any great or even bad PR?

Contact Paarul Chand by emailing or tweet @PaarulC or @PRmomentIndia throughout the week and we’ll happily credit you for your trouble.