labels: advertising/branding, coca cola india
Coke reshuffles brand priorities news
Mohini Bhatnagar
13 April 2004

New Delhi: Since the beginning of the year Coca Cola India''s focus on brands like Maaza, Thums Up, Fanta and powdered soft drink brand Sunfill has been increasing at the expense of brands like Limca.

The company''s by now famous ''affordability strategy'' has been extended to Maaza and Thums Up (small packs at low prices) and Sunfill. The calcium-fortified Maaza was recently launched in 200ml packs priced at Rs5 and 300ml packs at Rs7 supported by heavy advertising.

Powdered soft drink brand, Sunfill, was also launched in new variants at cut throat prices to enable it to slug it out against market leader, Rasna. The company sees tremendous potential from Sunfill and feels 200 million new consumers can be added through new variants of the brand at lower price points. The company feels that Sunfill Anand and Sunfill Tarang will make the product available to a larger consumer base, especially lower-income consumers in the ''C'' and ''D'' categories. The company recently rolled out advertising campaigns for the new Sunfill variants.

Thums Up is also being pushed aggressively both in rural and urban areas. For the urban ethos, the company is going strong with its campaign starring matinee idol while its rural initiative comprises organising events such as the recent ''Sambharulu'' organised in the rural areas of Andhra Pradesh.

The company has kicked off the "Thums Up Mega Thunder" campaign to celebrate a quarter century of the Indian cola along with 25 years of the movie career of the Telugu film actor, Chiranjeevi. The campaign is scheduled to run across Andhra Pradesh and will give one lucky consumer the chance to act in a film with Chiranjeevi.

Fanta, a brand that was relatively in the background till two years back, has been given a new lease of life with matinee queen Rani Mukherjkee endorsing it. It is Limca, however, which figured among Coke''s frontline brands two years ago, which seems to have been put on the backburner. Not only has the company not renewed actress Sonali Bendre''s contract for brand endorsement, all TV commercials of the brand have been withdrawn. Limca, earlier owned by Ramesh Chauhan''s Parle Ltd, was sold off to Coca Cola along with Thums Up. It holds a strong equity in Punjab and Andhra Pradesh where, interestingly enough, the company is pushing Thums Up aggressively.

Company officials say the main reason for the lowered marketing support for Limca is the slow growth of the lemon drinks market and a shift to the clear lime category of the company''s Sprite. The market share of the clouded lemon drinks like Limca has declined from 11 per cent to 10 per cent carbonated soft drink (CSD) market, while the carbonated orange soft drinks segment has risen and now accounts for about 15 per cent of the market. The total CSD market is currently estimated at 250 million cases.

Limca continues to be available in 200-ml, 300-ml and 500-ml and 1-litre glass bottles, besides 1.5 litre and 2 litre PET bottles. According to the company, the brand will continue to cater to a niche audience but will not receive much in the way of ad spends as the company does not foresee much growth for it. Analysts say the company is clearly focusing on brands that are perceived to be future market leaders. Thums Up has great equity and leads over Coca Cola and Pepsi in some markets while Fanta''s market share has risen very fast in the overall orange drinks segment to 30 percent. Maaza has the largest market share among fruit based soft drinks followed by Frooti and Lehar Slice and Sunfill has great potential as it is Rasna''s main competitor. Clearly these are seen to be Coca Cola''s power brands.

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Coke reshuffles brand priorities