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Then & NowThen & Now

A Coke StoryA Coke Story

Siddharth JaiswalSiddharth Jaiswal

IMT Hyderabad Batch 2011-13 PH No-9573573989

Then & Now Then & Now A Coke Story A Coke Story Siddharth Jaiswal Siddharth JaiswalEmail-siddharthjaiswal9@gmail.com sjaiswal@imthyderabad.edu " id="pdf-obj-0-21" src="pdf-obj-0-21.jpg">

Then & Now: A Coke Story

It

was on May 8, 1886 that Dr. John
was
on
May
8,
1886 that
Dr.
John

Pemberton mixed the magic portion of coca cola syrup to carbonated water and sold it

for five cents

a glass. Pemberton had

no

clue of what was to become of this fluid that he had formulated. Today coco cola‟s logo is one of the most recognized

trademarks in the world. Spread across 200 countries it is the largest producer of non- alcohol carbonized drinks and known for its marketing tactics. Worldwide the category

1977 and the Coca Cola Company had to exit the Indian Markets.

The Rebirth: Coca Cola re-entered

India in 1993, giving its competitor Pepsi Co a huge four year heads up into the Indian market which used this opportunity to

capture much of the Indian consumer‟s

imagination. The Coca Cola Company knew it had to bridge its absence of 16 years from the Indian market aggressively and quickly, with a two-pronged gambit; one

through acquisitions, by cementing itself with the nation‟s top soft-drink brands (Thumbs-Up, Limca etc.) which give instant access to established bottling infrastructure along with good brand portfolio And the second, by turning to the jingles and bringing on celebrity endorsers.

During this period the company‟s marketing

department focused on jingles, celebrity endorsements and tag lines to reach out to

of cola has been built on marketing alone, consumers. no matter how much the two biggest
of cola has been built on marketing
alone,
consumers.
no matter how much the two biggest
players (Pepsi Co & Coca Cola) in this space
try to differentiate themselves on the basis
of their „Formula‟,
let‟s face
it
except the
amount of sugar content in each of them
there
is
very
little
to
distinguish.
Hence
these two
companies choose their fatal
weapons of advertising which has a huge
role to
play in consumers
picking up one
over the other. Like most companies in
search of untapped markets, Coca Cola
Company, Atlanta had a hawk‟s eye on
India. The company first made its entry into
the Indian market in the year 1956 and
made a good fortune. The Indian economy
was increasingly regulated and many

industries

were

restricted

to

the

public

sector, this movement reached its peak in

Tag lines like “Always the real thing”, “Pee le coca cola”, “Thande ka Tadka”, “ Jo
Tag lines like “Always the real thing”, “Pee le coca cola”, “Thande ka Tadka”, “ Jo

Tag lines like “Always the real thing”, “Pee le coca cola”, “Thande ka Tadka”, “Jo chahe

ho

jye. Coca Cola enjoy” backed by

celebrities

like

Karishma

Kapoor,

Hrithik

Roshan, Amir Khan and Aishwarya Rai had

done the

trick

for the carbonated drink

manufacturer.

The Next Decade: Since 1993-2003,

Coca

Cola

had

invested the whooping

amount of US$ 1 billion in India, making it

one

of

biggest

foreign investors

in

the

country. In 2003, Coca Cola was ranked the

# 1 brand in the world and estimated its brand value at $70.45 billion. It believed in a brand positioning strategy called as the

3A‟s

Affordability

Availability

Acceptability

Reaching to the masses and increasing the

per capita

consumption

of

cola

in

the

massive landscape of India was

the

challenge for coke at this point of time. The

rural market of India represented a major opportunity (96% of Indian population) for market penetration and a battleground for market dominance. Its mantra was “Within the arm‟s reach of desire”. Additionally, an average coke cost around Rs10 and the average wage for a day was around Rs100, coke was presumed as a luxury that only few could afford. Hence, to cater to the high potential markets the company introduced the 200ml bottle, smaller to the traditional 300ml version at Rs5 only, bridging the gap between coke and the traditional refreshments like tea, lemonade etc. making coke truly accessible.

Tag lines like “Always the real thing”, “Pee le coca cola”, “Thande ka Tadka”, “ Jo
Tag lines like “Always the real thing”, “Pee le coca cola”, “Thande ka Tadka”, “ Jo
Tag lines like “Always the real thing”, “Pee le coca cola”, “Thande ka Tadka”, “ Jo

Coke had to sketch a unique ad campaign to penetrate into the remotest places of India, this is when the “Thanda Matlab Coca Colahappened and took the company one notch up in terms of the connect with the masses of India. This campaign featured actor Amir Khan playing regional roles and helped coke to strengthen its brand equity. The campaign targeted the segment whose

primary needs were quenching. out of home thirst
primary needs were
quenching.
out
of
home thirst
primary needs were quenching. out of home thirst “Thanda” meaning cold/cool is also generic for cold

“Thanda” meaning cold/cool is also generic

for cold beverages in India, giving the campaign multiple meaning of cold refreshments and thirst quencher relating itself as cold Indian beverages like lassi or lemonade. The “Thanda” campaign became to be known as a gem of a tagline and the most effective by any brand in the soft-

drink category. In the year 2002-2003, 91% of the sales were made to lower, lower- middle and upper middle class who largely came from the rural regions of the country.

Hitch in the Journey: On 5 August

2003,

the

center

for

science

and

environment (CSE) issued a report stating

“12 major brands of cold drinks sold in and

around Delhi contain a pesticides residues”.

deadly cocktail of

primary needs were quenching. out of home thirst “Thanda” meaning cold/cool is also generic for cold
primary needs were quenching. out of home thirst “Thanda” meaning cold/cool is also generic for cold
The company acted
The
company
acted

immediately

by

designing a new advertising strategy that included “safety guaranteed” stickers, newspaper ads, public tours of the Coca Cola plants and the Pesticide controversy campaign featuring Amir Khan to regain its lost trust of the people from the cold drink.

The company had to redesign strategies to heel from the damage caused due to the controversies

The company had to redesign strategies to heel from the damage caused due to the controversies of 2003-2006. The new brand development strategy stressed on the so

called 3 P‟s:

Price value

Preference

“Pervasive penetration”

Since 2009 Coca Cola Company has been

running the “Open happiness” campaign

worldwide, which was adapted by the Indian Market as well. This was the first time that the company adapted a global campaign unlike the traditional tailor made local advertising. This campaign featured Imran Khan who has been a part of the Indian execution; however he was not able to recreate the magic that his uncle Amir had accomplished for the company in 2003.

The company had to redesign strategies to heel from the damage caused due to the controversies
The company had to redesign strategies to heel from the damage caused due to the controversies

Then came the „Brrr….‟ campaign in 2010,

again an adaptation of South Africa‟s brand campaign. "We are coming up with our latest campaign called 'Brrr'. Through this campaign, we are giving the whole experience of having an ice cold drink. The campaign has manifested the spontaneous experience of consumers when they have it," Coca-Cola India Brand Director (Coca- Cola and Trademark) Avinash Pant said.

The company had to redesign strategies to heel from the damage caused due to the controversies

However the results of the campaign don‟t

look impressive, is it time to rethink the

company‟s positioning? It seems that Coca

Cola Company once known for its killer marketing tactics has lost track in today‟s spoilt for choice consumers.

The biggest question remains, can coke bring back its advertising charm?

This will not be

easy for the largest

soft-

drink company as it has missed out on the

World Cup

opportunity, providing its

competitor Pepsi a clear path to move far

ahead. Still hope remains for the company as they could capitalize on the brands recent association with the Olympics, which could be the ticket for a comeback.

References:

“Coca Cola India” Tuck School of

Business, Dartmouth. Paper no:1- 0085, Nov-2004.

Argenti, Paul et.al “Collaborating

with Activists: How Starbucks work with NGOs, California Management Review, Vol 47, No 1, June 2004.

Dawar, Niraj and Nancy Dai. “Cola

Wars in China: The future is here.

HBS Case, August 2003. Dey, Saikat. Interview on Indian History and economic Liberalization. January 2005. “Global Brand Scorecard 2003:

Special Report.” Interbrand, as seen

in Business week 08/04/2003.