I get that Coca-Cola’s ‘Do diye jyaada jalao‘ advertisement is cashing in on the festive season sentiment. Except that anybody who has grown up in a Diwali-celebrating culture knows that this is a with-family festival, not a go-out-celebrate-with-others one. That’s Christmas, Holi perhaps (minus the hooliganism & harassment) and yes, even Ganesh Chaturti & Pujo. But Diwali? That’s for diyas & rangolis inside the house, sweets with family.

Diya - The First Diwali light

I’m not being a religious fanatic here, just a purist on social customs.Yes, yes, I hear the voiceover suggest that we do something different this Diwali. But let’s bring it down to the basics, shall we, before suggesting change? The festival of lights essentially welcomes the Goddess of wealth into the house (in addition to other celebratory things, of course). Prosperity, beautiful concept as it is, is something that you wish for and celebrate with your closest family. It’s completely different from forgiveness or freedom or new beginnings, which are concepts you might want to go out and spread. Prosperity isn’t what you’re going to wish on the college principle who punishes you often or the girls’ hostel watchman. Incidentally, religious lights are not supposed to be blown out, by tradition so what’s that saree-clad lady doing foofing out the diya before dropping it into the youngsters’ baskets?

Also, what does a fizzy, sugary drink have to do with Diwali? Try as I might, I can’t think of Diwali as anything but ghee-filled sweets and rich, Indian food. Oh some alcohol as well, perhaps, with the card-playing, a tradition adopted from my northern friends. But cola? That’s for washing down pav-bhaji or at best, softening rum.

This advertisement bothers both, the social observer as well as the marketer in me.

9 thoughts on “Where’s Coca-Cola Going With ‘Do Diye Zyada Jalao’?”
  1. “what does a fizzy, sugary drink have to do with Diwali? Try as I might, I can’t think of Diwali as anything but ghee-filled sweets and rich, Indian food.”

    Cadbury’s had come with this ad with Amitabh Bachchan, where he goes to give chocolates to his childhood friend. One might argue that chocolates have no place in Diwali either, which is traditionally about mithai and dry fruits.

    With how “westernized” things have gotten, of course Coke has a place in Diwali. But then, I’m biased, and slightly addicted to the drink πŸ™‚

    1. @a traveller: I actually thought of that very campaign when I saw the Coke ad and said, “They’re doing a Cadbury’s on us now.” Incidentally Cadbury’s long-running campaign isn’t exactly a grand success story. After all these years of promoting chocolates for Diwali, Eid, Holi, Raksha Bandhan and Navratri, the average Indian still turns to mithai, not Dairy Milk during festivities. I’m sure loyal customers of your ilk are a delight to Coca-Cola but that doesn’t validate nonsense ads.

  2. But then, Ramya, think of this………isn’t Diwali also about spreading light? I, for one, have decided to spend this Diwali at an orphanage…….not exactly a place where I’ll expect my immediate family……..but if am fortunate enough to spread as little as a sliver of a smile on someone, my darkness will fade out a bit……Do Diye is not only about spreading the light we see…………it’s also about the light which we seem to lose from time to time……..and yes, many years from now on, more than a confection or a fizzy drink I will remember these times with a fleeting smile……..and perhaps that will really be a Do Diye time for me………. πŸ™‚

    But your article does drive home a point πŸ™‚

    1. @Aritro: A festival is a reason to celebrate. Sure, you can choose to not celebrate it or even celebrate it in other ways. But if you change the reason for celebration (which is okay too, BTW), it isn’t that festival anymore. There’s nothing wrong in spreading the cheer at all. Just that the key message of Diwali is something else. If you choose to expand that message or add to it with an altruistic motive, more power to you! But this is not one human being deciding to do something different; to make a difference. It’s a corporate entity whose commercials are just that – messages on which money has been spent so that more money may be earned. There’s nothing altruistic about a soft drink manufacturer asking people to spread the light. I don’t see it as anything more than cashing in on people’s good moods to get them to spend on cola.

  3. It’s a bogus ad, I don’t find any relation with coke and “do diye”. I find most of cold fizzy drinks ad non sense, like mountain dew ad “dar ke aagey jeet”. Now what are they trying to convey ? Is it that when ever you get afraid drink cold drink.

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