Would Pepsi pull a Peloton-Aviation-Gin gag in India with Salman Khan?

Peloton could be understood as the American GOQii since the latter recently launched treadmills too! But Peloton has been selling exercycles at $1,995 and treadmills at $4,000, along with a monthly subscription of $39. Given this expensive proposition, when they released their TV ad for the upcoming festive season (built around ‘gifting’ like many other brands), it was widely panned.

The husband gifting the bike to the wife who already looks incredibly fit and svelte was something many people outraged about, besides many other incidental objections. The outrage was so loud that the company’s stock price crashed briefly!

Ryan Reynolds is just fresh from the success of the world’s first 3-in-one advertisement, where he bought an ad for his brand of gin, called Aviation Gin, within an ad for his Netflix movie ‘6 Underground’, within an ad for Samsung QLED TV!

With that high, he quickly produced an equally quirky encore, riding on the Peloton ad!

He got the lead actress from the much-maligned Peloton ad, and produced a sequel with a twist, to advertise Aviation Gin!

I’d love to see this chutzpah from Indian ad agencies – using actors from one ad as a spirit-sequel (in context, of course) to another brand. How about we start with Abhinav ‘Trivago’ Kumar in a Paytm ad (since he works in Paytm now)? 🙂

The closest India has come to, like this, is with Haier air conditioners using the likeness of rivals’ ads to make its point in a disparaging manner. The actors were not the same, but they were made to look remarkably similar. Also, the backdrop and decor were also forced to remind audiences of a/c ads by Voltas, Godrej and Blue Star.

The premise by Haier is that the earlier ads have been seen by people so much that when they are being spoofed to make Haier’s own point, people would get it immediately. Such referencing was usually reserved for situations or actions from movies only given the reach of films in India. That Haier also presumed 3 ads by rivals to be worthy of spoofing says a lot about those brands’ media spends!

If you look beyond the contrasting tone (that is, the spirit sequel mocking the former film), there are some examples of ads using another ads’ cast and situation as a continuation in tone, without trying to disparage the former. Like the Airfone ad that carried the story from a Cadbury’s Shubh Aarambh ad earlier. The sequel is literally a continuation; in the Cadbury ad, the pair was waiting for a bus, and in the Airfone ad, they are riding the bus together, talking about the same thing (but with a different product to sell) like the earlier ad. (Hat tip: Harshal Modi’s tweet).

There is a chance yet to pull a Peloton-Aviation Gin in India.

Pepsi has just signed up Salman Khan as the new brand ambassador for a big 2020 campaign. And which rival drink is Salman Khan so well known for? Taste The Thunder… of course, Thums Up, from rival Coca-Cola. Would Pepsi get Salman to say something about Thums Up to put that brand down? Let’s wait and watch 🙂



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