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Coke brand placement in 'Koi Mil Gaya' might not yield response

MUMBAI: The effectiveness of brand placements in feature films can be marred by controversies surrounding the brands or the segment that pop up during the release of the film.

Producer-director Rakesh Roshan has used every trick in the trade to ensure a good initial for his film that has placements by companies such as Coca Cola, Hero Honda and Nescafe amongst others.

However, the positive rub-off on Coca Cola brand sales will be affected by the ongoing cola controversy (a report put up by the Centre for Science and Environment - CSE says that Indian colas have above-permissible levels of harmful substances).

The film has the main protagonist Hrithik Roshan sipping Coca Cola (and so does the alien from outer space) and a popular youth hang-out joint that has Nescafe hoardings prominently displayed. Roshan and his young mates also pick up the Hero Honda basketball cup and a lot of footage has been dedicated to the matches. On conditions of anonymity, ad experts claim that the other brands might benefit from the placements but one cannot say the same about Coca Cola. Media reports indicate that cola sales in various parts of the country have been on the decline.

Meanwhile, a press release issued by Coca-Cola India on 8 August welcomed the dismissal of a law suit in the High Court of Hyderabad by the Indian Young Lawyers Association which questioned the safety of the company's products. The statement says: "the decision vindicates our position and should reassure consumers that our products are safe. Coca-Cola India takes the safety of its consumers seriously and our products in India adhere to the same rigorous quality standards as they do throughout the world."

Coca Cola India president Sanjiv Gupta has been quoted as saying: "The use of unaccredited laboratories produces results at odds with both government and accredited independent labs. It has scared consumers unnecessarily and jeopardised thousands of jobs throughout the country." The company that claims to be one of India's largest, employing over 5,000 people throughout the country in addition to being responsible for tens of thousands of livelihoods through linked industries such as suppliers and retailers.

The company also claims that an independent scientific analysis of its cola products is available on the web site at www.myenjoyzone.com.

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