Coca Cola: Resurgence in the Indian Market

Published by MBA Skool Team, Published on March 31, 2014

Coca-cola in India- A brief

Coca Cola had entered Indian market in 1970 and was the market leader for 7 years. In 1977, it had to exit the country because of changes in government policies. Over the next few years, Parle launched new brands like Thums up, Limca and emerged as a strong player in the market. In 1990, Indian Government opened the market for big international players. Pepsi entered and established itself in the country. Tough competition broke between Pepsi and Thums Up. Coca-cola re-entered Indian market in 1993 and launched brands like- Coca Cola, Diet Coke, Sprite and Fanta. Coca Cola resulted in the decline of Thums Up sales from 60% in 1993 to 15% in 1998. Later, Coca Cola bought Thums Up. By 2009, Coca Cola became the market leader with a share of 59%.

Coca-Cola after re-entry

After its re-entry, Coca Cola had to face severe competition from Parle, Pepsi and others. In the absence of Coca Cola, Pepsi got a head start. Coca Cola had a second mover disadvantage and hence, in order to establish itself in the country, it brought in various innovations which helped it to reach the top. Some of the innovations brought about were:

Targeting the rural markets

In order to penetrate the rural markets, Coca Cola launched the Chhota Coke (200ml for Rs.5). It was easily affordable by the lower income group people. To further gain peoples’ attention and achieve a higher share, Aamir Khan was made the ambassador of Coca Cola. “Paanch ka matlab chhota coke” was the tagline which became popular with the advertising campaign.

"The rural market is a significant part of our marketing strategy which enables us to help the consumer link with our product."

- Sanjeev Gupta, Marketing Director - Cola-Cola India, in August 1995.


Thanda matlab Coca Cola

Another tagline that became very popular with Coca Cola was “Thanda matlab Coca Cola”. This tagline brought Coca Cola to the generic category. Its significance was that thanda can mean Coca Cola, which usually signifies lassi or nimbu paani for us Indians. Aamir Khan featured in various advertisements in different roles and made the fan following of Coca Cola even greater both in the rural and urban areas. The “Thanda matlab Coca Cola” campaign won the Campaign of the year award in 2003.


Aamir Khan in Coca Cola’s ad

Bewajah khushiyaan lutao

One of the latest advertisements of Coca Cola believe in spreading happiness and positivity. It is an extension of Coca Cola’s crazy for happiness campaign. This ad campaign targets the youth.


Bewajah khushiyaan lutao

Coca Cola has always found out unique ways of advertising and brand promoting which plays a major role in brand building and identification.

Believe in a happier tomorrow

Coca Cola’s one of the most popular advertisements of recent times is the one with the jingle ‘ummeedon wali dhoop, sunshine wali aasha…’. It gives a positive message to believe in a happier tomorrow and uplifts the audences with the passion it possesses.

Ummedon wali dhoop…sunshine wali aasha…

The eKOCool Project

As of April 2013, Coca Cola had installed more than 300 solar coolers, and another 1000 were being deployed in rural and semi-urban areas.

EKOCool coolers are solar powered, developed specifically for retailers in rural and semi-urban areas. Roof top solar panels are linked to each cooler installed inside the store.

This innovation helps shop keepers sell ice-cold drinks- a thing of sheer appreciation in areas where there is no water or electricity. Not only this, the eKOCool coolers feature ports for charging lanterns and mobile phones. Villagers come and charge their phones and this way, spend more on the Coca Cola drinks.

For villagers, it is convenience and comfort. For Coca Cola, it is brand building, promotion, sales and hence, profits.

A shop owner with her EkoCooler

Fridge Packs

Another innovation by Coca Cola was the introduction of 1.25 llitre fridge pack in 2008, which has already crossed 5 million milestone. It fits into the average sized fridge in homes in India. The fridge pack brings with it various advantages- convenient to store, ideal serving for a party or get together of 4-5 people, has enhanced fizz retention and provides value for money at Rs.35.

Fridge Pack

Coca Cola uses direct marketing for promotion. It partners with movies, restaurants to sell its products. Eg., Mc Donalds.

It has also sponsored various sports events and television shows like MTV Coke Studio. It has often been a major sponsor at college events and festivals.

Coca Cola has always been at the top position in bringing innovation. From “Thanda matlab Coca Cola” to “Haan haan main crazy hun”, Coca Cola advertisements have always attracted audiences. From Aamir Khan to Hrithik Roshan to Aishwarya Rai, all have graced the Coca Cola advertisements. EKoCools are providing a livelihood to the rural people, Coca Cola fridge packs are providing another reason to party.

Coca Cola has not forgotten its social responsibility either. It has joined hands with NDTV to launch a campaign called “Support my school”, which is a movement for healthy, happy and active schools. It is a step towards making a difference in the quality of education in the rural and semi-urban areas. They want to create awareness about education with an emphasis on proper sanitation, access to water and sporting facilities.

Today through Support My School, over 100 schools spread over 10 states can lay claim to better access to sanitation, water, playing facilities, libraries, computer centers and a more welcoming and learning environment.

Coca Cola has been successful in establishing itself as a major brand through its innovative strategies since its come back in 1993. Putting the entire picture in one frame, shows us the broad landscape Coca Cola has created for itself and beautified with colours of efforts, hard word, near perfect strategies and success!

This article has been authored by Ipsa Arora from International Management Institute, Delhi


The articles in this section have been submitted by our Authors. They have been reviewed & uploaded by the MBA Skool Team. The content on MBA Skool has been created for educational & academic purpose only.

If you are interested in writing articles for us, Submit Here

Share this Page on:
Facebook ShareTweetShare on Linkedin