Thums Up wants to celebrate the resilience of ordinary and extraordinary heroes alike: Arnab Roy, Coca-Cola India
BI India Partner
The brand wants to evolve from celebrating the the sense of physical strength to ‘real world heroism'
brands

Thums Up wants to celebrate the resilience of ordinary and extraordinary heroes alike: Arnab Roy, Coca-Cola India

The brand wants to evolve from celebrating the the sense of physical strength to ‘real world heroism'
  • Thums Up has announced its worldwide partnership with the Games to be held in Tokyo this year and come up with a campaign titled Toofan wahi jo sab #PalatDe.
  • We find out all there is to know about the association from Arnab Roy, Vice President and Head-Marketing, Coca-Cola India and SouthWest Asia.
In India’s 100 th year of participation at the Olympic Games, home-grown cola brand Thums Up has announced its worldwide partnership with the Games to be held in Tokyo this year.

For years, the Coca-Cola Company, of which Thums Up is a part, has sponsored major sporting events across the world. In fact, it has had an eight-decade long association with the Olympic Games. As a part of Thums Up’s association this year, the brand has come up with a campaign, comprising a series of videos along with marketing stories for digital and social media to help keep the audiences connected with the Olympic Games in real-time.

As part of the campaign, the brand will roll out special athlete packaging. The content will bring out stories of struggle of our Olympians - Bajrang Punia (wrestler), Manu Bhaker(shooter), Vikas Krishna Yadav (boxer), Deepika Kumari (archery), Atanu Das (archery), and the Indian Shooting Team who battled everyday odds to reach where they are today. The thought behind the campaign is to show a ‘thumbs down’ to these challenges, to rid the world of the pessimism. The campaign’s tagline is Toofan wahi jo sab #PalatDe (the real storm is one that turns everything upside down).

For years, Thums Up’s communications have been about machismo, we have often seen actors jump from the top of buildings or parachutes, something a lot of us might not relate to. However, with its new campaign, Thums Up has repositioned its brand message, to celebrate everyday heroes.

The campaign has been conceptualized by Ogilvy India.


We caught up with Arnab Roy, Vice President and Head-Marketing, Coca-Cola India and SouthWest Asia, to get a sense of what the brand’s partnership with Olympics Games would entail, and the thought behind this repositioning of its brand messaging.

Excerpts:

Q) Tell us a bit about Thums Up’s new brand ideology? How does it tie up with the journey of the Olympics athletes?
For long, Thums Up has been known not only for its wide availability but also for its strong taste, association with physical strength and resilience to overcome challenges. While the core value of the brand will remain the same, we see an opportunity to evolve from the the sense of physical strength it has been associated with, to ‘real world heroism. We believe the time is now for this change – India needs to celebrate its real heroes more than ever before given all the challenges the country has been through in the last 18 months. Real heroes have emerged across – and the values of resilience, grit and determination have helped to push us through. We see a reflection of this heroism across all our Indian athletes on their way to the games and it was critical to celebrate their stories.

Q) For years, Thums Up communications, like you mentioned, have inherently been about physical strength and machismo, about an adrenaline rush. Your campaigns, even till a few months back, was primarily about jumping off buildings and parachutes. Is that line of communication/advertising still as relevant today as it was perhaps in the 80s and 90s?
The Coca-Cola Company is the oldest standing partner of the Olympic Games since 1928 and has helped celebrate the core values of the Olympic Games such as respect, courage, determination, inspiration, and equality. In this particular year in India, the need to portray these values has never been more important -real people, who overcame tremendous odds to become real heroes to represent the tri-color at Tokyo 2020. The association signals a step in a new direction for the brand as it celebrates and salutes the resilience of real heroes of life.

Q) How important is mindfulness and empathy for a brand like Thums Up?
We believe brands and their advertising need to be highly empathic in such challenging periods. Credible, authentic communication will help win hearts at the end of the day and hopefully drive a base of loyal consumers.

Q) What does your marketing plan for this year’s Olympic Games look like?
As part of our strategic partnership with the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, we will be unveiling a creative and innovative marketing campaign. Apart from all the video content and the special Olympic Games-themed packaging, the campaign will include physical and virtual events, insights into the stories of these athletes along with branded and user generated content. All of these will enable fans and viewers to be connected with the Olympic Games in real time. The campaign includes multiple digital and electronic slots for amplification during the months of July and August, in key markets of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Karnataka and Orissa, among others.

Q) As a brand, are you looking at this as a long-term association, not just as a way of endorsing these athletes but also helping them, and others on their journeys, since we know so many athletes in India, while having immense talent, are not able to keep up with sports due to economic reasons?
The Coca-Cola Company has been a partner with the Olympic Games since 1928 and we believe that it is important to keep supporting the future of the Olympic Movement. We are working on several ways to support athletes around the world and in India and hopefully should announce more detailed plans soon.

Q) As a brand, what do you want to stand for in this new world order?
Thums Up wants to celebrate the resilience of ordinary and extraordinary heroes alike. In the face of challenges, disbelievers and naysayers, we believe these heroes, just like the Indian athletes, remain fueled by physical strength as well as mental resilience to turn things around, overcome roadblocks and achieve their goals.

Q) Do you think the recent incident with Ronaldo will have an impact in terms of consumption in India too, considering the younger populace is already health-conscious and players like Ronaldo are a youth icon and their actions mean a lot for young sports lovers?

Globally, Coca-Cola offers over 500 brands in more than 200 countries and territories. In pursuit of our goal to become a Total Beverage Company, we constantly strive to offer a complete range of beverages to meet rapidly evolving consumer needs and preferences. While offering the core portfolio in all geographies, we also focus on providing nutritious, refreshing, affordable products formulated and designed for local preferences and diverse consumers.

We see pick up for all benefits sought by consumers and we are there with them, all the way. We are focusing on expanding in five category clusters — Sparkling, Energy, Juice/dairy/plant-based, water/enhanced water/sports drinks and Ready-to-drink coffee and teas — to include more low- and no-sugar options and drinks in emerging categories. Our agenda is to create a ‘value’ proportion for ‘every consumer’ so that more and more Indians buy Coca-Cola products. We believe that everyone is entitled to their drink preferences as people have different tastes and needs. Players are offered water, alongside a choice of beverages during events and press conferences to cater to a variety of “tastes and needs”.

A balanced lifestyle is key to successful weight-management. Food and beverages with calories, including soft drinks, can be enjoyed in moderation as part of a varied diet, so long as you don’t have too much. It’s important for us to make sure that consumers have a choice, which is why we also offer a variety of great tasting beverages with reduced, low or no sugar and calories such as Coca-Cola Zero, Coca-Cola Light or Frestea Low Calories. We know some people want to manage their portions, so we offer many of our beverages in a range of sizes.