Part 8: Thums Up Story: Redefining the product portfolio

Previously, we had seen how Ramesh Chauhan built the Thums Up brand, captured the cola market & turned it into a cult brand:

By the mid 1980s, as Thums Up began to eat into the marketshare of Gold Spot & Limca, Ramesh Chauhan felt the need to redefine the Parle softdrink portfolio with marketing strategies. Now that Thums Up had become a drink for the youth (with tag-lines like “food & friends”), it was overlapping with the marketing strategy of Gold Spot which was also targeting similar customer-base (Gold Spot had roped in models like Rekha who had become the heartthrob of the youth). Hence, it was decided to redefine Gold Spot and market it as a drink with the “zing thing”.
zing_adThe team produced a series of 30 sec ads showing party-goers & love-birds with catchy tunes endorsing Gold Spot as a drink with the the “zing thing” for those who called themselves “crazy”.
Some of the ads can be viewed from the following YouTube link:

Much before Javed Jaffrey entered the film industry, he had acted in some of these Gold Spot ads.
Javed Jaffrey’s ad for Gold Spot:

On the other hand, Limca, which was earlier targeted towards the upwardly mobile (especially women), was being redefined as a drink for the fun loving families.
The team produced a series of 30 sec ads with catchy jingles, targeting the drink for the “rest of us” who were less-crazy & loved to cherish fun moments. Much before his debut in film industry, Salman Khan acted in some of the Limca ads.

Limca ads on YouTube:

During the early 1970s, Ramesh Chauhan had hit upon the idea of introducing a lemon drink in green bottles so that they could “stand out. But the technology (and equipment) in India during early 1970s was still not mature to manufacture green color glasses at such large scale and hence he had chosen to develop a cloudy lemon drink and the result was Limca.

Almost a decade later, ┬áin the 1980s, when the technology was mature enough, the time was right to implement his earlier idea of a clear lime, fizzy drink in green bottles. The result was Citra, which was marketed as a “super cooler”.
Apart from these brands, Parle had Maaza mango drink in the juice department & soda under the Bisleri brand. In this manner, Ramesh Chauhan had built a soft drink portfolio with strong & independent brands under Parle Agro.
parle_brandsCoca Cola’s exit in 1977 had indeed turned into a boon for Parle and within a decade, Ramesh Chauhan had become the darling of the industry. Thums Up, Limca & Gold Spot were popularly being referred to as the trimurti of soft-drink industry.

It is usually at this peak stage when entrepreneurs become arrogant or try to underestimate the competition which can lead to a downfall, as we had recently observed in the Nokia & Motorola fiasco. Did the success of the Parle brands get into the head of Ramesh Chauhan? Or was he brewing some ideas to expand the product portfolio further?

We shall find out about these in the next part tomorrow.

Next part:

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