What is your favourite soda, or cold drink as we call it in India?
For any Indian, growing up in the India of 90s, it would be “Thums Up.”
In 1977, Coke had to exit India, due to some noncompliance with the erstwhile government. This made way for some of the Indian brands like, Campa Cola, Double Seven, Duke’s McDowell’s Crush and Double Cola, amongst others to enter the space. Each one of them faded away after sometime, but not Thums Up.
In 1993, when Coke re-entered India, Thums Up had the highest (36%) market share, with Pepsi a distant second at 26%. Coke made a generous offer to the Chauhan Brothers and Thums Up was bought.
To any sane marketer, buying a market leader and harping on it would seem a logical move, but the story of Thums Up is more interesting than that. Coke actually bought the brand to kill it, so that Coca Cola could take its place.
But Thums Up just refused to die. The mass resonated with the brand and they kept it alive. The problem for Coke began when, in the absence of Thums Up, Pepsi started to gain market.
And thus began the story of resurrection and conquest of one of the most iconic brands of India.
Today, Thums Up still rules with 16% market share with Pepsi and Sprite at second place with 15% market share.