Pepsi's #BackToSchool Recreates Childhood Memories with a Youtube Video

Likesh Bhambhwani
Aug 05, 2014 05:42 IST
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pepsi #Backtoschool

As Indians, we might be short of money, short of happiness and may be even honesty, but one thing we are not short of is emotion. Being a true blooded Indian entails us to rate a bit higher on the sentimental side. We get drawn into anything easily if it tugs on our heart strings. The brands of today know this very well and use it to their full advantage.

In the recent past, we’ve had Fortune’s Dadi Ki Do Chamach Daal campaign, Google’s India Pakistan reunion campaign, ICICI’s Bande Acche Hain campaign and many many more. They all do one thing. They make you nostalgic. They take you back to your own memories of times with your friends, families and loved ones. All of them give you that warm fuzzy feeling within your heart. And all of them are sensational hits.

This friendships day, Pepsi Co. brings to you its #BackToSchool campaign. A campaign which takes you back to those golden times, when the biggest concern of the day was whether you would be able to watch Swat Kats and the happiest times were when you were punished outside class with your friends. School days have a special corner in all of our hearts.


Make followers nostalgic about their school days and more importantly about their school friends. Encourage them to share and relive their crazy school stories whether it was about being punished with friends, bunking periods or eating lunch in class.

As a result, increase the audience’s interaction with the brands and get more and more people onboard the campaign by having them tag their friends and batch-mates.


The execution of this campaign is done through 2 sub-brands, Pepsi India and Lay‘s India, both of which have a combined following of over 30mn people on Facebook and over 130k people on Twitter with the lion’s share of those numbers being for the Pepsi India Facebook and Twitter accounts.

This campaign was kick started with this post by both brands across both social networks:

pepsi #Backtoschool

pepsi #Backtoschool

After this post, Pepsi India’s twitter account exploded with tweets and replies from followers talking about their school friends and the awesome times they had. Pepsi India was more than happy to retweet and get them to share more by tagging their school friends, there by bringing more people into the conversation.

pepsi back to school

pepsi back to school

To enable the followers to share their stories, Pepsi created a BackToSchool microsite where users can log in using their Facebook or Twitter account. The site was debuted through the following posts:

The microsite asked visitors to share their #BackToSchool stories with 4 main themes, share about their #ClassPhoto and how insane they looked back then, shirt signing day stories on the #LastSchoolDay, the amazing times they had with their #SchoolBesties, the crazy #GetOutofTheClass stories and the unforgettable #MySchoolCanteen food stories.

The brands continued to interact with their followers and encourage them to post their #BackToSchool stories on the microsite for the next couple of days, collecting several thousand likes in the process.

pepsi walk down the memory lane

After a few days of story sharing and nostalgia, Pepsi released the crown jewel of the campaign, the #BackToSchool video which is the Mona Lisa of videos, with every element being absolutely perfect. The storyline is absolutely crisp and has everything from comedy to romance to tragedy. The soundtrack is soothing and yet has powerful lyrics. To the product placements which don’t seem to be forced and blend in exactly with the environment. Directed by Abhishek Kapoor, the director of block busters like Rock On and Kai Po Che, the video isn’t anything short of a master piece. Have a look for yourself:


With Pepsi using content marketing as a strong base for this campaign, they run 2 stories on Scoop Whoop with the theme of school friendships. This is also where the video was first released, before launching it on their social networks.

The video has received over a million views on YouTube and has been trending on Facebook feeds and Twitter timelines ever since:

pepsi chetan bhagat

The video has been loved by every single person whose seen it and has been posted, reposted, tweeted, retweeted countless times since its release. The brand seems to have hit the hammer on its head with this video.

The video has been followed up with a whole bunch creatives to deepen the thought about school friendships and continue the #BackToSchool story sharing across networks:

This looks like just the start; we have a feeling that Pepsi has some other things up their sleeve and we can expect to see something from them on Friendships day, which happens to be tomorrow.


Use of Videos

Pepsi has made an extremely innovating yet traditional use of videos as a part of their marketing strategy. A user usually connects most with an emotional video and school days are always a special part of anyone's lives. To recreate this magic through a video is definitely a good way to go viral.

Out of the World Creatives

A brand just doesn’t become Pepsi overnight. Pepsi with their years of experience and fantastic agencies have managed to come up with some brilliant creatives. Right from the visuals with the black board and chalk writing to the write ups of all the posts to the soundtrack of the video to the video itself. All the creatives are absolutely stunning and in line with the theme of the campaign.

The creatives have been created keeping Social in mind. With a sort of non-commercial feeling to the conversations and the look & feel of the campaign, the social audiences have been lapping up the content.

Perfect Timing with Perfect Execution

The timing for the campaign cannot be better. The younger audiences take to social media around friendships day every year to announce their love for their chaddi buddies. To give them a compelling reason to share even more and bring to them a visual confirmation of the feelings they feel around this time of the year has been an excellent idea.

With the execution being bang on target, starting with story sharing and letting it build into a crescendo before releasing the impeccably timed film.

Scope for Improvement

Room for More Activities

With the decreasing attention span of social audiences, it is crucial to always keep things interesting and always keeping the audience watching out for more. During the campaign, there definitely has been more room for more activities than only the story sharing that is being pushed across by both brands. Activities like contests, tasks, etc would be a welcome break for the audiences and they may be engaged for longer durations.

No Real Use of the Website

With a mediocre design and narrow scope of use the microsite doesn’t seem to be getting any love from the audiences. If audiences are taken away from their Twitter and Facebook timelines, they really need to be floored with something magnanimous. However, there isn’t anything they can do on the site which they can’t on their timelines.

The website needs to add that “something special” which would force users to visit it over and over again and share it with their friends.

Closing Thoughts

Personally, I’m still expecting at least a couple of more brilliant activities or activations from Pepsi before they end the campaign, because even though campaign seems to already be a winner it’s better to deliver a final Knockout punch rather than letting it go to the scores.

And if you’ve not already had enough of nostalgia, let me leave you with a line of the song from the video, “Baithe baithe back benches par humne to sikha.. Sikha bas this much.. Ki baant kar khao to daant bhi lagti hain achii..”

#Social Media Campaign #Pepsi #youtube video ##Backtoschool #school #emotional campaign #pepsi campaign review