Coca-Cola is everywhere.
In 1977, Coca-Cola had exited India (apparently because it refused to share it’s secret syrup recipe with the government) and a huge cola void was waiting to be filled. Thums Up was launched by the Chauhan brothers Ramesh and Prakash at this critical juncture.
It introduced a bold new flavour that had a slightly orangy base and more fizz than the competitors. With the help of some innovative advertising, it easily staved off the local competition and had a humongous market share of 36% (of all colas) in 1993, the year Coca-Cola re-entered India (Pepsi at that time commanded 26%).
Coca-Cola made a very attractive bid for Thums Up (Rs. 186 crore or $62 million back then) and bought the brand from the Chauhans. Here’s where the twist comes. Instead of treating it’s number one brand like a prized stallion, Coca-Cola desperately tried a variety of tactics to kill Thums Up to pave its own way back into the Indian market. (more…)