Campaigns that shaped the brand Coca Cola in India

Key takeaways:

  • Coca-Cola is the world’s third most valuable brand because it has one the most successful marketing strategy.
  • The company’s marketing strategy is very unique and is one of the reasons behind its international reach.
  • They very cleverly entered each market and used emotional marketing to catch their target audience, yet the real masterstroke was to get the market share and Coke did that by offering competitive prices to generate sales.
  • Coca-Cola’s Marketing campaigns and strategies have shown us how important it is to remain innovative, have connections and keep its brand mission and image.

A Brief History of Coca Cola:

Coca-Cola is one of the brands which is known by everybody as a popular beloved brand around the world due to its uniquely designed Marketing Strategy. The company has come a long way from selling one product to more than 3000 products now, it has an affiliation of 500 brands and sells around 17 billion serving a day in around 200 countries. This leading beverage company first started in 1986 by selling a soda fountain drink in Atlanta, Georgia. Coca-Cola is the world’s biggest beverage company, controlling more than half of the global carbonated drink segment and a few non-carbonated drink segments too.

Coca-Cola is the world’s third most valuable brand because it has one the most successful marketing strategy. The word Coca Cola in mandarin means “Delicious Happiness” which is one of the reasons why Coca Cola is commonly associated with happiness and the brand stands for it, for bringing people together and creating happy moments in their life. The company’s marketing strategy is very unique and is one of the reasons behind its international reach. In India Coca Cola first took over local brands like Thumbs up, Mazaa, Limca, etc which further helped the brand is expanding its global branding. In India where people prefer drinks like nimbu pani and tea and are price sensitive Coca Cola managed to reach them as well and make a huge audience by following an intensive brand-building program and its unique marketing strategy. Coca Cola was launched in 1956 in India and it has positioned its product so well that we tend to choose it even when there are similar products available in the market, sometimes with better product satisfaction in terms of the physical attribute but the psychological reason for choosing Coca Cola over other similar products is much different.

Let’s analyze Coca Cola’s unique campaign approach- Click here 

Coca Cola Campaigns in India

• The Coca Cola 1998 cup:

Coca Cola had to exit the Indian market in 1977 due to the then Foreign Exchange Act, though it re-entered the market in 1999 and before entering the market again, a strategic sponsorship was done by Coca Cola in 1998 with the Sharjah Tri-Nation Cricket Cup, this tournament was supposed to take place in India, Australia and New Zeeland and India won the tournament. India winning the Coca-Cola cup at the time when Coca-Cola is planning to re-enter the Indian market is a real masterstroke.

• Jo Chaaho ho jaaye, Coca Cola enjoy:

Coca Cola re-entered India with the ad campaign “Jo Chaaho ho jaaye, Coca Cola enjoy” featuring famous youth celebrities of the time like Aishwarya Rai, Hrithik Roshan, and Aamir Khan, maintaining its target which was a youth. Their marketing strategy was to appeal to the youth both by product level and emotional level through this campaign.

• Thanda Matlab Coca-Cola:

Coca-Cola launched one of the most successful campaigns to date in 2003. The ad is enacted by Aamir Khan where Coca Cola is referred to as Thanda, so Thanda in India is ingrained in our culture and it means cool drink, whenever a guest arrives, we ask if they would like to have “Thanda or garam” which means a cool drink or a hot drink and similarly local hawkers shouts “Thanda Thanda” while selling cold soda drinks or chilled water. So, this familiar Hindi word was very cleverly linked with Coca-Cola in this campaign which resulted in a synonymous recognition in Indian minds where any cool drink “Thanda” means Coca Cola again a real masterstroke. This was a very brilliant marketing strategy where the approach was to position the product in everybody’s mind and this not only targeted the youth but a drink for all, further expanding Coca Cola’s target consumer from youth to everyone i.e., masses.

• Sabka Thanda Ek:

After resonating the brand with the Hindi word “Thanda” now their next campaign in 2006 was “Sabka Thanda Ek” where their strategy was to change the image from just a refreshment drink to a more emotional approach by referring to it by the universal drink which means bringing people together. Referring to it as the universal drink makes an impression of togetherness as it states that it is everybody’s drink, so the thought of everybody having the same preference makes it look like everybody is together in that.

• Open Happiness:

The Open Happiness campaign was launched just after its successful launch in the US in 2009. Several ads came under this campaign, the first one was an ad called “Dost” where Cricketer Gautam Gambhir was featured. It was a good move to associate itself with the game Cricket as we all know cricket is widely loved and followed as a religion in India, people from different communities, ages, and all the other boundaries come together to celebrate the game. Coca-Cola was already addressing itself as “Sabka Thanda Ek” showcasing the coming together feeling and then associating it with the cricket and linking it with happiness, celebration and togetherness was a great move.

The next ad under this campaign was “Cricket ki Khushi” celebrating the happiness of cricket featuring the cricket legend and company’s ‘Happiness Ambassador’ Sachin Tendulkar. In the ad, the master blaster Sachin Tendulkar is seen saying people to stay happy, keep playing and enjoy Coca-Cola. This ad was a strategy to show Coca Cola as a stimulator to happiness by celebrating small happiness in our surroundings and also associating it with Cricket to reach a wide amount of audience as cricket is widely loved in India.

Coca-Cola also showed another ad under this campaign showing an invisible bottle which was shown as the gap between genders. Coca-Cola breaks the ice of social distance between a male and a female very beautifully with their invisible bottle, this ad was aimed to make people come together irrespective of where they come from or what’s their gender.

Coca-Cola has always paid attention to different social campaigns that raise awareness about different issues. Coca-Cola, which already had a huge name in the industry started focusing on these campaigns and drives in India as well. Campaigns such as “Open happiness” brought millions of people together and collectively gave everybody the feeling of happiness and attracted a huge audience at once.

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Most interesting digital initiatives:

Coca-Cola has never stopped being creative and relevant in the eye of its consumers, they have made sure to stay relevant according to the trends and topics going on around us, and keeping that in mind they came up with various digital campaigns to reach a wide no. of the audience, let’s look at some of the most interesting digital initiatives:

• Love Story:

Plastic is a hot topic and especially for FMCG where plastics are being used in a large quantity. Addressing this problem Coca Cola Britain came up with a recycling-based advertising ‘Love Story’ which depicted a set of bottles made of entirely recycled material, falling in love with each other over and over again, all thanks to recycling. Coca-Cola recently announced that by 2030 it aims to collect and recycle equal to all its packaging. This is a good campaign and an example of brands stepping up on this issue.

• Taste the feeling:

Coca-Cola rolled out this integrated advertisement “Taste the feeling” as an update to its tagline “Open Happiness”. This campaign involved several TV commercials, print, digital, etc initiatives. Overall, the theme was about offering different insights into everyday feeling and the feelings that surround drinking Coca-Cola, it also showcased the diversity of people who enjoys Coca-Cola. Which gives the feeling of togetherness and feeling connected to a wide range of people.

• #ThatsGold:

In the celebration of the Olympics in Rio 2016, Coca-Cola Brazil came up with this campaign #ThatsGold to celebrate and get that feeling of accomplishment no matter how small or big it might be. The advertisement showed unforgettable Gold medal-winning moments from the previous Olympic games and also showed famous athletes like Jodie Williams and Nathan Adrian, which not only gave the feeling of celebrating victory but also motivation to win and celebrate again. The advertisement was further tailored for global markets also featuring more of their national players, especially with countries like Australia and US seeing their national athletes in the advertisement. Alongside digital and out-of-home advertisement this campaign #ThatsGood also included experiential touch by Olympic Park hosting a special Coca Cola space for the visiting audience to take their pictures with pops and buy branded pins and memorabilia.

• Share a Coke:

This campaign Share a Coke was no doubt one of the most memorable and talked about digital campaigns. The campaign gives chance to people to get personalized Coca-Cola bottles i.e. their names printed on the Coca-Cola bottle label through the Facebook app which led to an increase in the traffic on Coca Cola Facebook page by 870% and their page likes growing by 39%. While in some countries the labelling changed altogether so all the coke bottles and products have different names on them. This campaign not only made Coca-Cola talk of the town but also increased their sales by 7% and it also increased a total of 18 million media impressions. This campaign was very successful as it was seen that apparently, people love to share the picture of the Coke bottle with their name on the side.

• Christmas Truck:

Christmas season comes with a lot of excitement and Coca Cola truck is spotted on our TV screen when Christmas is around the corner. Coca Cola came up with this idea to capitalize on festive related excitement with fun competition in partnership with Late rooms, and it was pretty simple, the users had to tell why they are the ultimate Christmas fan in the hope to win a sleepover on the famous Christmas truck and that doesn’t end there, the lucky winners were treated with gifts from Santa and loads of Christmassy food to complete their stay in the truck.  This simple effort is a very good example of creating a social buzz both online and offline.

• Happiness Machine:

The Vending machine was transformed into the Happiness Machine and it was spread across the world. In this campaign, the customers needed to interact with the machine informally and it was different in a different part of the world according to the area, culture, and preference of the people there. In Singapore, people had to hug the machine, in Korea people were expected to dance on K-pop, in London people had to complete a series of challenges inspired by James Bond and in Sweden people had to sing a Christmas carol to get a free Coca Cola. The reactions of people were so beautiful and all these excitement-filled videos of happy consumers were recorded and released on various platforms in a series. The videos earned millions of views and this initiative was widely appreciated and it won the Top Honors at the 2010 CLIO Awards and Coca-Cola was globally known as a brand that spreads happiness and joy.

Coca-Cola has been successfully executing its social media marketing from the initial days of social media and they have made sure to stay the talk of the town and come up with various different ideas. Their marketing strategies have played a significant role in their marketing innovation. Social isn’t just a new way of marketing or getting the attention of the audience but it is a new way of marketing and running a business, Coca-Cola has figured this out and is making sure to use social marketing to grow and expand its market share. Coca-Cola is successful in implementing all these unique ideas and coming up with several new ones because of its research and development, they do proper research and analyze the new trends and technologies and apply that and they also keep themselves updated about the new changes and aware of every innovation.

They very cleverly entered each market and used emotional marketing to catch their target audience, yet the real masterstroke was to get the market share and Coke did that by offering competitive prices to generate sales. Coca-Cola’s Marketing strategies and campaigns have shown us how important it is to remain innovative, have connections and keep its brand mission and image.

Astha Kumari

Content writer

Nikunj Solanki

Graphic designer

Neeraj Chiplunkar


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