When it comes to soft drink brands in India, Coca-Cola and Pepsi are still the ones most widely available. That is not to say that there haven’t been indigenous brands of soft drinks in India, however, very few of them have been able to rise to the level of the earlier mentioned, one of them being India’s own ‘Thums Up’ cola brand.
Just as a proof of how big it has gotten just recently it was reported that the soft drink brand became a billion dollar brand in 2021.
Coca-Cola Company who is the current owner of the brand revealed during a post-earnings call on Thursday about the achievement. James Quincey, The Coca-Cola Company Chairman stated that, “Our local Thums Up brand became a USD one billion brand in India, driven by focussed marketing and execution plans.”
How Did Thums Up Manage This Feat?
For those who are unaware, Thums Up as a brand was launched all the way back in 1977. One reason for its launch was the then recent exit of the Coca-Cola brand due to the government’s requirement of the company to sell 60% of its stake to an Indian company in order to do business in the country.
As per the plan foreign-owned companies had to share equity with domestic Indian companies in order to be able to operate in India. Coca-Cola was also being asked to disclose their formula.
Due to all these reasons, Coca-Cola withdrew from the country for the time being, leading to the creation of Thums Up. Ramesh Chauhan along with his brother created the Thums Up soft drink from scratch.
The Chauhan brothers were already part owners of the Parle company and behind two other soda brands like Limca and Gold Spot, both of which enjoyed a lot of popularity in India.
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Once Coca-Cola re-entered the Indian market in 1993 they acquired Thums Up from the Chauhan brothers and subsequently also bought over the entire collection of soft drinks from the owners including Limca and Gold Spot.
Thums Up is actually the first fully domestic beverage brand to get to a billion-dollar sales and as per reports The Coca-Cola Company over the past year saw net revenue of USD 38.7 billion, a 17% increase, and even organic revenue grew by 16%. As per the company “This performance was driven by 9 per cent growth in concentrate sales and 6 per cent growth in price/mix.”
The ‘made in India’ tag and the constant attachment with famous faces like Bollywood celebrities and popular cricketers has allowed the brand to maintain a decent amount of customer base. The recent addition of Thums Up as the worldwide partner to the Toky Olympics last year along with being the first FMCG brand to partner with Paralympic Games also further pushed it to the forefront.
For a long time Thums Up was also synonymous with extreme machoism traits, with their tagline ‘Taste the thunder’ and advertisements geared more towards extreme masculinity. However, in recent times the brand has been shifting gears from that and instead opting for a more inspirational and greater message to society.
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