Previously, we found out how Parle ventured into the soft drink business and launched brands like Gold Spot & Limca.
Although Parle had established Gold Spot & Limca as successful brands, it never allowed the success go to its head. Parle knew that it would not be wise to take on a giant like Coca Cola head-on (by introducing a cola beverage) and hence chose not to introduce any cola drink and limited its scope within the market for orange & lemon drink.
While Limca was already placed as a drink for the upwardly mobile (especially ladies), Gold Spot had become a childrens’ drink. Coca Cola had begun to capture the youth market (ages ranging from 18 to 30) which had lot of potential, but Parle still did not have any brand targeted towards them and was eager to tap that segment.
Instead of risking with another new brand altogether, Parle decided to change its marketing strategy by changing the image of Gold Spot from Childrens’ drink to something premium & uber-cool.
The company spent considerably on print ads to reach out to people from all walks of life including upper middle class & even politicians!!
To create some “oomph” factor, the company roped in an unknown South Indian upcoming model for ads, who eventually went on to become the heartthrob of Bollywood. She was none other than Rekha!! Colorful print ads featuring young Rekha sipping Gold Spot through a straw had become a national sensation. Never before had Indians seen such “sexy” ads of a beautiful model sipping a drink or caressing her cheeks with a bottle. The tag line “Livva little hot, Sippa Gold Spot” added more oomph factor, suggesting that Gold Spot was for those who wanted to live “hot“.
For the first time in the history of advertising in India, Gold Spot experimented with sub-conscious marketing techniques by incorporating flashing messages (which are known to have deep impact on the human mind). In strategic locations across cities, billboards with the ad with flashing lights for the tag-line were installed. This phenomenon had indeed become a subject of debate even among spiritual gurus who would demystify the science & philosophy of advertising in their discourses on human mind. The following excerpt is from one such talk by Osho (Rajneesh) during 1970s.
While Parle was growing leap and bounds, and customers were spoilt with choices (Coca Cola, Gold Spot, Limca etc), the situation at the political front was shaky. In 1975, Emergency was imposed and lakhs were imprisoned.
More about it here:
For the next 2 years, fear among people was at an all time high, due to the emergency excesses by Sanjay Gandhi:
This had taken a toll on the soft drink market since outings, joyrides, trips & vacations had taken a backseat. While MNCs like Coca Cola could withstand such slowdown (due to enormous financial backing from its parent company), Indian companies like Parle (with Gold Spot & Limca brands) which had spent considerably on bottling facilities & their recent expenditure on expansion plans, suddenly found it difficult to sustain. By 1976-77, Parle was mulling over scaling down operations and limiting itself to metros.
We shall find out about these in the next part tomorrow.
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