Mumbai, 27 February 2007: The special evening of February 27 2007 will be a moment to remember for all cricket fans who have always aspired to meet their favorite Indian cricket players and give their best wishes. It was a dream come true as Pepsi’s Blue Billion Cheer-a-thon, comprised of fans, winners, Pepsi brand ambassadors – Shah Rukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra and singers – Sukhwinder, Adnan Sami and Shankar cheered and wished the Indian cricket players the very best in their own special way!
The power packed send off, anchored by the charming Mandira Bedi, commenced with Shankar Mahadevan performing the 1999 World Cup tracks amidst immense cheer and excitement. The sporting crowds cheered and chanted along with him as he urged them to wear the Blue Billion wrist band of support to cheer the Indian team. The song sequence was followed by a rare performance by Priyanka singing the famous - Salaam - e - Ishq song with Shankar. It was a moving moment for cricket fans to see their leading singers – Shankar, Adnan Sami and Sukhwinder take stage to sing the Pepsi World Cup anthem together.
The highlight of the evening was the revelation of Pepsi Gold as Pepsi brand ambassador, Shah Rukh Khan, gifted the first bottle of Pepsi Gold to the Indian Cricket Captain, Rahul Dravid. The flamboyant new, gold colored cola, gifted to the Indian cricket players present at the occasion, commemorates Pepsi’s association with the ICC World Cup and is symbolic of the spirit of winning and going for Gold.
While gifting Pepsi Gold to Rahul Dravid, Pepsi brand ambassador – Shah Rukh Khan said, “It’s been nearly 25 years since India won the World Cup - too long for the biggest and most passionate cricketing nation in the world! But now, in you guys we have a captain and a team with all the credentials to repeat that remarkable achievement. This bottle of Pepsi Gold symbolizes our thirst for striking gold at the 2007 World Cup and it comes to you with a billion good wishes, hopes and aspirations”.
Pepsi Gold is a premium cola that combines the taste of Pepsi with a lemon topnote. The resplendent gold hues of this new cola from Pepsi, symbolize every Indian cricket fan’s desire to bring home the gold colored Cricket World Cup Trophy.
Thanking the Blue Billion for its love and support, Indian cricket team Captain – Rahul Dravid said, “A truly momentous journey begins tomorrow for all of us, and I want to express our heartfelt thanks to the Blue Billion, who have steadfastly stood by us, believed in us, and motivated us to excel at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007. I remember Pepsi turning Blue four years back during World Cup 2003, and we didn’t do too badly then either, This time it is Pepsi Gold, and gold is what we will aim for!”
The community of passionate Indian cricket fans, popularly known as the Blue Billion, takes on fresh momentum in the build up to the ICC World Cup 2007. At the same time, the identity of the Blue Billion, now growing in stature, is manifesting itself in many dimensions. The community website, www.bluebillion.co.in now has over 7,50,000 users, and has taken on a new look and has more unique cricketing content. Pepsi’s support for the Blue Billion now also extends into special Blue Billion merchandise for cricket fans. To start with, Pepsi is merchandising a Blue Billion wrist band (available at Rs. 5/- at retail outlets), which is seen as an essential part of any Blue Billion fans’identity. Also a range of Blue Billion apparel will be available at Adidas outlets across the country. Other merchandise such as tattoos, key chains, bandanas etc. are also available. Pepsi has even tied up with Microsoft to brand a special “Blue Billion XBOX” which will be carried on all XBOX units sold through the World Cup.
Pepsi has also given voice to the Blue Billion in their latest advertising. The campaign is centered around the Blue Billion’s message to the Indian cricket team – Ladega toh jeetega! The television campaign, which breaks on March 03, 2007, showcases the Blue Billion’s desire to see fighting spirit amongst our cricketers. Given the wealth of talent and experience present in our team, a fighting attitude might just tilt the balance in our favor at this World Cup. Pepsi will also air another commercial for Pepsi Gold, on air from March 7, which demonstrates fans from all over the country coming together and chanting “Ooooh Aaaah India, Aaaaya India” to exhort the cricketers to get the World Cup home.