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Storyboard18 | Thums Up's 'toofani' takes it to the billion-dollar brand club

Coca-Cola India has leveraged Bollywood celebrities and popular cricketers to promote Thums Up in the India market.

February 11, 2022 / 11:13 AM IST
(Representative Image) Brand Thums Up was launched almost 45 years ago in 1977 by Ramesh Chauhan of Parle and was acquired by Coca-Cola in 1993.

(Representative Image) Brand Thums Up was launched almost 45 years ago in 1977 by Ramesh Chauhan of Parle and was acquired by Coca-Cola in 1993.

Iconic Indian brand Thums Up has broken into the billion-dollar club, a goal The Coca-Cola Company has been aggressively working towards since 2019.

"Our local Thums Up brand became a billion-dollar brand in India, driven by focused marketing and execution plans," said chairman and CEO James Quincey on Thursday evening during a post-earnings call.

In terms of the company’s results, the global beverages major said that the unit case volume grew 11 percent for the quarter, resulting in a low single-digit increase versus 2019. Growth was driven by China, India and the Philippines, partially offset by pressure in Australia due to the impact of the pandemic. Growth was led by Trademark Coca-Cola and sparkling flavours.

Besides, it added that unit case volume grew 13 percent for the quarter, driven by strong growth in the key markets of India and the Philippines.

Brand Thums Up was launched almost 45 years ago in 1977 by Ramesh Chauhan of Parle and was acquired by Coca-Cola in 1993. It remained one of the strongest products in Coca-Cola's portfolio in India. The company has leveraged Bollywood celebrities and popular cricketers to promote it in the India market for years.

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Thums Up palats positioning strategy

For the first time in its history, Thums Up became the worldwide partner of the Olympics at Tokyo last year. The brand also partnered with athletes who represented India at the Games. After the Tokyo Olympics, Thums up became the first FMCG brand to partner with the Paralympic Games. It went on to ink a deal with the International Cricket Council (ICC) as an exclusive non-alcoholic beverage partner for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

In a previous interview with Storyboard18, Arnab Roy, vice president and head-marketing, Coca-Cola India and Southwest Asia, had said, “We have had an opportunity in India as we were coming out of Covid’s second wave to leverage both the Olympics and Paralympics and that coincided with what we were trying to do for Thums Up the brand.” That is “evolve the positioning” of the brand.

Thums Up, it seems, is slowly shedding its all-macho thunderous personality for something that's greater and more inspirational.

A new generation of heroes for a new generation of consumers

It's the evolution of Thums Up’s brand positioning, moving from ‘physical strength’ to ‘heroism’ from ‘reel heroes’ to ‘real heroes’. Channeling brawn and brains. The roster of stars who have endorsed Thums Up include Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar, Mahesh Babu and Ranveer Singh.

The campaigns featuring Olympic and Paralympic athletes were called #PalatDe and #TaanePalatDe. Created by Ogilvy India, the campaign line went, ‘Toofan wahi jo sab palat de’.

It starred Bajrang Punia (wrestler), Manu Bhaker (shooter), Vikas Krishna Yadav (boxer), Deepika Kumari (archery), Atanu Das (archery), and the Indian shooting team. Paralympians that featured in the campaign were Mariyappan Thangavelu (High jump), Sakina Khatun (Powerlifting), Suyash Yadav (Swimming), Navdeep (Javelin throw), Sumit Antil (Javelin throw), and Avani Lekhara (Shooting.)

Roy had said that the “positioning really fitted well with the stories we wanted to tell about the Indian athletes (defying odds and doubters). It has had a very good effect on both the brand as well as the business scores.”

But Thums Up's palat is not about to leave its past behind entirely. It recently roped in actor Vijay Deverakonda who featured in an action-packed campaign that's more familiar Thums Up territory.

Builder of many iconic brands, Ramesh Chauhan of Parle launched Thums Up in 1977, after Coca-Cola had exited the Indian market following the Morarji Desai government directive to reduce its ownership stake in the Indian operation. Thums Up was eventually acquired by The Coca-Cola Company in 1993, when the Atlanta-headquartered company had re-entered the Indian market.
Storyboard18 is Network18's flagship platform focussed on the advertising & marketing community and a leading source of news and analyses on the business of brands.
first published: Feb 11, 2022 11:10 am
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