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Gaming The Game - Sameer Kulavoor

Design Log 27 Sep

In conversation with Graphic Designer, Sameer Kulavoor on his brand new Red Bull Celebration Can collaboration - its ethos, essence, visualisation and making.

  • Sku Final

Red Bull Celebration Can design by Sameer Kulavoor

Festivals in India are synonymous with celebrating our roots, values and faith in the most exuberant kind of way. In that regard, could you talk a little about the concept and design of the Red Bull Celebration Can? Is it a literal depiction of our festivals or a metaphorical one? How did you decide what encapsulates the energy and dynamism of our diverse country?

This design is more about the diversity, inclusivity (and of course dynamism) of celebrations in India as opposed to roots, values, faith, religion, etc. It is about core human values rather than about the idea of communities and tradition. Celebration is just one aspect that represents the energy and dynamism of our country. During festivals we see ‘celebration’ all amplified - the sights and sounds. But it is not limited to festivals - for e.g. when India won the Cricket World Cup at Wankhede in 2011 the city (and country) was on the streets, you know? So, people bursting crackers or serving biryani and sweets can be about a certain festival but you can also see it at weddings, cricket victories, even political wins! It is just how we choose to celebrate. Where do you draw the line?

Red Bull has always been invested in alternative cultures or subcultures such as b-boying, rapping, hip-hop and such. Offbeat, independent music, films and artists have always been backed fiercely by Red Bull. However, festivals are completely mainstream so far as culture is concerned. In that regard, could you tell us a little about the process of collaborating with Red Bull on the Celebration Cans? How was it different from the other cultural concepts that Red Bull has championed so far?

There are alternative subcultures but there’s a lot of overlap. Mainstream and alternative subcultures borrow from each other. Nucleya's music played by the local DJ at Ganpati mandap - and this is 2-3 years back! Red bull backs Jod ke Tod (Dahi Handi) every year which is actually mainstream but look at the way they do it. The brand team and me were both aligned in that respect and we did not treat it differently because of the notion that ’celebration’ is perceived as mainstream. We knew that the idea of celebration in our country is special and we focused on how to portray it in an interesting and engaging manner.

  • Elements

Various elements from the new Red Bull Celebration Can

Red Bull is the first FMCG brand in India to launch a Virtual Reality Pack. To that end, could you shed some light on the main mural, the Virtual Reality 6 Pack and VR glasses?  How does the mural get translated into a 360 virtual reality experience? How was the whole thing conceptualised and how does it work?

The main brief was to design the Can. During the first few meetings we were discussing ways to extend the idea. The can itself was a limited canvas to depict the extent of the idea. So we made a suggestion to Red Bull that it would be great to create a magnum opus -  a loaded illustrated panorama to showcase how the elements depicted on the can actually thrive and how does it all play out in an imagined landscape.

Besides the limited edition Celebration Can, a pack of four cans is also available, as is a special Virtual Reality 6 Pack which comes equipped with a pair of virtual reality glasses allowing the entire packaging to transform into an easy-to-create VR set-up. On typing the URL http://celebration.redbull.in on a smartphone, one can dive into an animated 360 world of festivals through the virtual reality experience. In virtual reality, the festivals on the can come to life. Additionally, the VR experience will also have two integrated VR games — centered around Red Bull owned events, Red Bull Jod Ke Tod and Red Bull Kite Fight — for an enhanced, interactive gaming experience.

Where will these cans be available? From when to when will they be available? Did you have any contribution to make in the way the cans get packaged?

The Limited Edition Celebration Cans will be available pan India at retail stores from the 2nd week of September till 4th week of October. Big Bazaar, Hypercity, Spar, and Spencers Retail are some names in the Modern Retail space and Big Basket and Grofers in the online shopping category where the limited edition – Red Bull Celebration can SKUs will be available.

And yes, we (Bombay Duck Designs also comprising Zeenat Kulavoor, Ashutosh Dhanawade, and Prince Lunawara) were involved in all stages of this exercise that we began planning a year back. We designed the 4-can pack, the 6-can pack and the VR glasses loosely based on the international Red Bull format. We also designed a special influencer kit for the launch of the Can in India. The influencer kit has a limited edition print of the panorama artwork and it comes in a typical Indian trunk (dabba)!

What is it about this collaboration that excited you the most and allowed you to differentiate yourself? 

The fact that it was an open brief was super exciting to start with. The Red Bull India team backed us at every stage of this process and did full justice to the way we had visualised this. It has been one of the most detailed projects we have worked on and that’s what differentiates it from the rest.

Design Log is a weekly design document logging every relevant art and design occurrence in India.