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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Everybody loves a good summer

It’s that time of the year again when the sun never seems to set. With global warming pushing up the mercury every year, most people dread the onset of summer. But there are some, to whom sunny days mean a superb business opportunity. No surprise that beverage majors are gearing up for the hot and humid season with a vengeance with a slight twist. While colas used to be big earlier, health drinks are currently in.

The Indian soft drink market is worth about Rs 6,000 crore per annum. But here too, innovation is the key if you have to capture a share of the consumer’s throat. Coca-Cola has big plans for the oncoming summer and is all set to roll out a radical concept,

The Red Lounge experience, in Pune. Coca-Cola officials say: “Red Lounge is a one-stop destination for the youth to hangout, surf the net, chat, watch TV and experience our entire portfolio, all under the same roof.” Other plans include beefing up their online presence with a one-stop interactive, online destination for Coke consumers in India.

The innovative Internet platform has over 4 lakh plus registered users in the age band of 19-24 years. Coca-Cola has also launched new campaigns for each of its brands. Venkatesh Kini, VP- marketing, Coca-Cola India, says: “Over the years, we have made ‘thanda’ and refreshment synonymous with Coca-Cola. The new campaign ‘Sabka Thanda Ek’ strengthens the universal appeal of the brand. It offers a higher order of emotional benefit of bringing people together.”

The cola giant has also launched a juice brand Minute Maid Pulpy Orange supported by a 360-degree marketing communication plan involving road shows, extensive experiential sampling sessions in markets, offices, malls, colleges, and a range of contests. “The roll out of the naturally refreshing, orange beverage with real pulp has been designed to extend the company’s market leadership in the juice drink segment,” adds Mr Kini.

If Coca-Cola is there, Pepsi can’t be far behind. PepsiCo India has also launched its new drink Mirinda Sorbet and is planning to follow it up by reaching out to its consumers through radio tie-ups and activation plans across Modern Trade & BPOs. Pepsico officials say, “The sampling activation, planned across 22 cities will aim at targeting nearly a lakh consumer across channels. Mirinda Sorbet is a premium offering targeted at young consumers, ranging from students to first jobbers.”

Dabur Foods is also going into overdrive with its summer preparations. Sanjay Sharma, GM, sales and marketing, Dabur Foods also reveals his company’s plans for summer: “We have reinvented our ‘Real’ brand to create a stronger differentiation from competitors’ products. In the juice segment 10 years back there was only one flavour that is mango.

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