From Caffeinated Cola to Carbonated Coffee: Tasted Cuba Yet?

40 years ago, “C” held the secret to the most successful sweet waterof the century. And its coveted secrets made it suffer “desh-nikaala” from not only India, a lot of other countries. Enter “P”. For the Indians addicted to the soft drink, “P” brought out a similar drink (whose logo is akin to a facebook ‘like’) that worked wonders for them. Soon “P” became an iconic brand as well.20 years later: “P” sold off that drink to “C” with a smug intention- they’ll play in the fruity juicy market only. What it took “P” to realize the extent of their mistake were another 20 years.

Parle Agro (‘P’) that sold off Thums Up to Coca Cola (‘C’) 20 years ago is now trying to make amends by entering the Rs.15000 Cr aerated drink market with ‘the coffee revolution’: Café Cuba. And they are throwing immense money and style and edge into the campaign. Evident from the edgy TVCs and the ever expanding digital ecosystem, Parle Agro is leaving no stone unturned to spread awareness about their differentiated product. Through an ‘underground movement’ against the age old Cola, Café Cuba aims at creating a niche in the hyper competitive aerated drink business with its product innovation as its major competitive asset.

A look at the website ‘’, made solely for the purpose of digital brand building makes a great first impression with its uniqueness of the concept. In an MSDS format, it captures the eye as well as interest with a geeky game-like feel; yet one cannot help but feel that it’s a little too stretched. For an Indian consumer who is used to a 30-45 sec long TVC, a 4-5 minute investment on the website indeed seems a bit too much to ask for. Couple with it another 2 minute 30 sec long video that attempts to make the message loud and clear by re-iterating the ‘underground rebellion’ concept. The video fails to fall in sync with the innovative format adapted by the digital platform where youngsters are seen running haywire to either hide Cuba or to taste Cuba. You can’t be sure. Still it leaves you with a “Deja Vu” feeling of having seen a Thums Up commercial (in which you’ll find youngsters running as well)

Apart from the digital footprint, the product in itself is unique and new for the Indian palate. Pepsi Café-chino launched some 8 years ago had the same concept of “a kick of cola with a kiss of coffee” but it failed miserably in the market. Not even a sassy number like their TVC featuring Priyanka and Kareena could save a product that tasted simply bad if not disgusting. If anything can sustain the initial buzz that Cuba is successfully creating, it’s going to be its taste.

All in all with a different marketing model as its pillar, will Café Cuba strike Indian youth consumers? Not unless you taste it. So, have you ‘Tasted Cuba yet’?

-Sahil Chopra

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In contrast to popular thought, ‘doing more with less’ is as much about innovative thinking as it is analytics.

– Ruth Saunders, partner, Galleon Blue

Economic slowdown, recession, depression – this evil has many names. But, the question worth pondering is, is it really vicious? It is the time when the credibility of major companies has been shattered. There’s a lot of cynicism and distrust in the world of big institutions, and companies feel the urge to share with people what they really care about.

Marketing activities, in a way sphere head the profit-generating regime of organizations owing to them being the most crucial and at times the only revenue generating department.

In such a scenario, it is imperative to identify and analyse the effects of an economic slowdown on the marketing activities of business houses so as to ameliorate their positions in the market. Now, as far as marketing is concerned, we have come a long way from a ‘caveat emptor’ to a ‘caveat venditor’ phase. In today’s world, where ‘Consumers’ are the ones who rule the roost, an economic slowdown literally means reduction in the purchasing power in the hands of the consumers, ultimately leading to a somewhat slackening in the average spending rate per consumer. Now, the effect that this might have on organizations, is contingent upon factors like the structure, culture, authority, the type of products produced, the industry in which they exist etc. In order to thrive in the industry, companies with a flat growth rate have to adopt a stringent and intense cropping strategies by cutting down on prices, promotions and personnel, heavily. On the other hand, the highly ambitious companies have to diminish their spending on extravagant projects for the time-being, if not permanently. Marketing department is directly dependant on people and hence, any excess spending on innovating new products and services and on R&D should be put on hold. It is advisable for companies to concentrate on their ‘core competencies’ by adopting the tried & tested ways rather than venturing into strange waters. High spending marketing activities including trade shows, hiring high-fi celebrities for advertisements need to be cut down and emphasis should be laid on using online marketing mediums like Twitter.

It is a vicious cycle during recession –



Brands are built over decades and generations. Think long term—make your competition chase you.

Recession has the eerie ability to convert even the best-off consumers frugal and cautious in their expenditures. In these tough times, the survival or growth of an organization is dictated hugely by how consumers value their brand and the limit to which they are ready to spend on it despite the grim market conditions.

Recession does not prove to be counter-productive for all organizations alike. Historically, it has been observed that in some cases, certain organizations have been successful in garnering new audiences, retaining loyal customers and ultimately benefitting out of the economic slowdown.

As has been proved again and again, slashing prices is not favourable in longer run. There is some amount of consumer perception attached with the prices of products that is adversely affected by abrupt plummeting of prices. In order to invest appropriately in the brand building activities, cutting down on budgets at other places is essential. This could be achieved by bringing high-cost activities like execution, production etc. in-house. Consumers should be viewed as appreciating assets and their retention is what rules the game. In bear economy, consumers become risk averse, therefore, if value is not evident, they do not flinch away from moving to other safer options. Brand is an intangible entity, something that is not consciously paid attention to by consumers. However, it is during these tough times that it comes to the fore and is readily noticed and incorporated in the purchasing decisions.

There is a need to offer a lucid and attractive ‘brand proposition’ at a reasonable price to attract the right number of customers. Recessions are instrumental in weeding out the relatively weaker brands, thereby providing immense opportunity for ‘value driven’ products and organizations to flourish. This brand switching enables companies to literally steal market share from rivals.

Over the years, it has been observed that cutting-down expenses and eventually prices in order to regain customers by increasing demand, does not prove to be a very lucrative idea in the longer run. For instance, companies like Nike, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut that invested heavily in the brand building exercise post the US Stock market crash of 1987, recorded heavy profits as compared to likes of McDonald’s that suffered due to cut-offs.

Now the most important question remains – How do we build the brand in such gruelling times? During times of recession, the people capital of an organization plays a pivotal role in strengthening its position in the market. Hence, efforts should be undertaken to improve employee morale and encourage them to stay focussed on achieving the goals of the organization. The promotion mix broadly comprises of advertisements that are highly capital intensive, door-to-door delivery that involves skill development and talent management on a huge level and publicity, something that is relatively cheap and easy to achieve. Therefore, efforts should be made to invest more in engagement rather than conventional promotion. During worse recession hit times, everyone including your collaborators, distributers, suppliers are in as much hot waters as you. Hence, there is ample scope for negotiations and bargaining in terms of payment cycles, discount benefits, supply timelines etc. The best example to corroborate the efficacy of co-branding is the partnership between Google’s Android and Nestlé’s Kit Kat, where both the parties benefitted by leveraging on their respective brand assets.

Economic slowdown may prove to be an arduous time for a marketer but the best time to build brand.


Like they say, we do not have an option of choosing whether or not we incorporate social media in our marketing regime, instead, the pressing question is how well we are capable of executing it. The new mantra today is – ‘You are what you share online’. Viral marketing is undoubtedly the most attractive and profitable form of marketing that an organization can engage in today. It is easy, convenient, less time consuming & above all, economical for people as well as companies to share news via social media. Properly executed social media marketing can help the organization reach even the remotest of areas and the most impossibly reachable target groups. Social media marketing creates a community in the market wherein people are pulled to the messages that the organizations want to convey which ends up acting as an impeccable source of word of mouth promotion. Be it the very famous tweet that by Google’s Senior Vice President Mr. Pichai announcing the launch of Google+ or his very first tweet about Android Kit Kat that received 4000 retweets and about 1000 favourites overnight, all in a way complimented Google’s marketing efforts, without much expenses – something that is the need of the hour.

Apart from restricting marketing activities on popular mediums like Facebook, Twitter et al, they could also span across myriad marketing channels including the organization’s official website. Smart companies like Google and Nestle never lose opportunities, which is evident from the announcement of the launch of Android Kit Kat 4.4 on their respective websites. Also, today’s generation’s needs and aspirations are highly capricious in nature. Hence, there is a need to constantly catch their attention in order to stay in their active minds. Therefore, companies have to constantly devise fresh, creative and in some ways ‘cool’ methods of keeping the iconoclasts engaged. During the launch of Android Kit Kat, Google revealed its Android KitKat statue in front of its office. Employees and by-passers clicked pictures and shared them on various social networking sites, thereby, unknowingly spreading the word.

Recession is that time when consumer confidence is waning across the global economy. In such a scenario, undertaking activities smartly is very important. Even more important than undertaking investments frugally. It is imperative for organizations to focus on differentiating their brand, showing the prowess of the product to the world and eventually, increasing the confidence of consumers in the brand. The ultimate antidote to a recession is a proactive response. Investing in your brand value always helps in retaining old customers and also in attracting new audiences by stealing share from weaker brands. Only the best positioned players will survive and thrive. As is said, with every hardship comes a glorious opportunity. It is up to the marketer to leverage these opportunities and force the winds in their favour.

In the end, all that can be said is that no one looks forward to a recession, but economic downturns definitely provide opportunities that can make or mar the organization.

( Originally published by mPower in Spandan – the Annual Management Review of IIM Kozhikode )

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Diwali Watch

  • NIKON – “Relive every moment”

Nikon advertises its new Coolpix S6200 amidst the Diwali celebrations this year.

  • CHENNAI SILKS – “Light up this festive season with The Chennai Silks Collections!”

Chennai Silks- A leading textile showroom in Tamil Nadu comes up with this Tamil ad to advertise its Diwali Collection.



Tanishq again comes up with a touching Diwali commercial showcasing the affection in relationships.



Nokia presents a smart phone which captures great pictures in glow lights this festive season. Exchange your old smart phone this Diwali to own a brand new Nokia Lumia at attractive prices.



Flipkart advertises its biggest online Diwali cyber sale this season.



Snapdeal releases its Diwali advertisement luring the customers towards their unbeaten offers.



Cadbury celebrations musical ad gives the audience the “Pyaar hi paoge tum” song this Diwali season.


  • TATA DOCOMO – “Junglee Diwali”

Tata Docomo in association with Nokia advertises its special Diwali offers this season.



Katrina Kaif features in the new Diwali commercial for Line App advertising free Diwali calls to India.



Maruti advertises its ALTO 800 car this festive season as the India’s most fuel efficient car.

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Repositioning: Not so Sweet?

After quite a long time, I happened to see this old advertisement of Taj Mahal Tea in which Saif Ali Khan explains the entire experience that goes into drinking Taj Mahal Tea. ‘Wah Taj!’ he exclaims at the end. I could not help but notice a stark resemblance of this ad with the 2008 advertisement of Cadbury Bournville- An American gentleman in the British village of Bournville who goes on to explain the entire process of enjoying this chocolate. The ad ends with him saying-‘Made from precious Ghanaian cocoa come a dark chocolate so fine; legend has it and I have learnt: You don’t just buy a Bournville, You EARN it. ’

Cadbury had a market share of over 70% in India. At this time, it started facing tough competition from imported brands like Hershey, Ferrero Rocher, Lindt and Snickers. These brands started becoming the new customer preferences and their visibility gradually started increasing. The Dark Chocolate segment was a segment not entered before by an Indian confectionery brand. Cadbury realized the gap in this market, the increasing competition and the increase in the purchasing power of the customers. Though Cadbury Bournville had been in the Indian market for over 30 years, it was this re-launch that gave Cadbury the required competitive advantage. As expected, Cadbury gained the first mover advantage in this market. It introduced new variants of Bournville like Rich Cocoa, Almond, Hazelnut, Raisin & Nut. This chocolate was, however, targeted towards the niche category. The factors that differentiated Bournville from its competitors were its pricing, promotion and positioning. It was priced at Rs. 75 as against Rs. 250 for a box of 10 pieces of Ferrero Rocher. Its positioning was as that of a premium chocolate brand. Cadbury conducted promotional campaigns through both- TV advertisements as well as Print ads. Through its print ads like: ‘After the Achievement, Before the glory’, Bournville maintained its position as the chocolate which cannot be bought but earned. However, Bournville continued to face stiff competition from Ferrero Rocher. Reports from Business Today claimed that Ferrero Rocher was the customers’ 1st preference when it came to premium chocolates.

Was it this growing competition from foreign brands that forced Bournville to reposition itself? Why did Bournville do away with such a strong positioning strategy? The new positioning as ‘Not so sweet’ did face criticism from marketing analysts. The use of this tagline as a repositioning strategy was challenged by the very fact that it’s implied that a dark chocolate is not sweet. Was the repositioning done just for the sake of it? Cadbury asserts that Bournville is a ‘chocolate meant for consumers with a mature palate’. Wouldn’t the new tagline, the repositioning hamper Bournville’s brand equity? However, it was not long before the ‘Not so sweet’ tagline became the talk of the town. It seemed as if the Ogilvy and Mather creativity did not fail this time. The ad agency effectively used social media marketing to reposition Bournville. This strategy is an example of how social media marketing can help generate the required buzz about a brand and thereby increase the brand recall. The video footage of the marriage proposal in a Dubai shopping mall helped Cadbury garner the required publicity for its brand. Within no time, the video went viral. In less than 4 days, the video had around 3 million hits on YouTube. On Facebook as well, the video was the most talked about. Shared separately on different pages that feature funny videos, it was just a matter of a few days before the video reached South East Asia followed by America. It featured on TV in the US on a channel that was covering funny videos (with a special mention about Bournville), TV in the Philippines, blogs across the world, the cover page of the Daily Mail UK, in The Huffington Post, The Mumbai Mirror and the Mid Day to name a few. The surprising fact is that this video has not yet been uploaded on the official Cadbury Bournville page nor has it been discussed about on its Facebook or Twitter pages. The brand is relying on organic reach for its promotion.

This strategy adopted by Bournville raises the basic question- is repositioning necessary? Does it reduce the brand value of a product? Though this new campaign has garnered publicity, will Bournville continue to have the brand recall as that of a premium chocolate brand? Would this repositioning strategy help Cadbury give a tougher competition to Ferrero Rocher, Hershey, Snickers and other International Premium chocolate brands that are steadily gaining popularity in the Indian market? Well, it’s just a matter of time before we get the answers to these questions.

Kavita Yajnik

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NaMo: India’s much-needed hope or just a fine Marketing Baron?

Of late, most of our mornings (with newspapers) and evenings too (twitter), have become way more happening than they used to be before, thanks to the ballistic crusading all political parties and most importantly, their already announced/potential prime ministerial candidates are engaging in, ahead of the upcoming 2014 elections.

Today, India’s political scenario is fragile (lets be optimistic enough and not associate ourselves with extreme ‘hopelessness’). None of the existing political parties have successfully been able to uphold the best interests of the nation and its inhabitants, leave alone ameliorating the dire circumstances. Because there are no substantial achievements that the parties (and even if they do, most of them are marred by the myriad scams they engage in) have to corroborate their effectiveness, the only option left with the hapless citizens is to evaluate them by their candidates and their skills – whether or not they have the potential to bail India out of its present crisis.

In such a scenario, the manner in which the candidate portrays himself and his party, becomes highly important. When we think of the use of marketing tactics in politics, the very first name that crops up in our minds is that of the long-time Gujarat Chief Minister and the BJP prime ministerial candidate, Mr. Narendra Modi. Call him ‘the merchant of death’ or ‘a liar’, you cannot help but feel flabbergasted by his eerie ability to leave audiences enraptured with his charisma, spellbinding speeches and marketing activities.

Having a little knowledge about basic marketing concepts, we are in a way, better equipped to judge candidates on whether they can be genuinely entrusted with the responsibility of leading our country or should they just write a book enlightening the world about the efficient strategies on hard-selling techniques. With Gujarat’s developmental model garnering worldwide acclaim, likes of the TIME Magazine, have acknowledged the development that Gujarat has witnessed under the tutelage of Narendra Modi. However, the point to be noted here is that there are similar developments happening in other parts of the country as well. Then why is it that the entire world knows about the remotest happenings in Gujarat as opposed to any other state of the country? The answer to this lies in the extraordinary efforts taken by NaMo to ‘subtly’ and at times overtly promote himself and his state.

Be it his speeches where he never flinches away from highlighting the rich set of natural resources that Gujarat houses, the conducive environment that it provides for almost all industries including cooperatives, that eventually rule the roost in their respective sectors, his idea of ‘good governance’, the various steps taken by him in boosting industrial growth and investments in the country through biennial initiatives like the Vibrant Gujarat Summits.. the list is endless, he makes sure his laborious efforts are made known to one and all. His highly productive stint as the Gujarat CM for three consecutive terms has instilled in him the confidence to put forth his ideas, no matter how abstract or unattainable they may be in the real sense, in a manner that leaves audiences as stupefied as awed.

Despite allegations of misrepresenting statistics, he continues to be the most popular orators of present day with an unbelievably huge fan following on social media including twitter. Very recently, he had called for ideas (via facebook and twitter) on improving Gujarat better as a holistically developed state. Therefore, implicitly he also adopts a concept called ‘co-creation’ that helps him engage with masses better. He is one of the very few politicians, who are utilizing the growing perks of technological innovations to their advantage. With the Google+ hangouts, NaMo has set a new trend of giving citizens a chance to interact with their leaders more closely, and in real time.

Looking at the current economic conditions of the country and to lure people from all sections of the society to participate in his rallies, he charges a meagre Rs. 5 fees for them. Because, a lot of people in Gujarat earn their livelihood through agriculture, he leaves no stone unturned to address their needs through initiatives like the Vibrant Gujarat Agricultural Summit, something that no other CM has given a thought to. Also, most of his gifts are auctioned away and the funds raised are used for ‘Kanya Kelavni’ or improving the plight of women in the society. By infusing innovations in his actions and creating goodwill for himself, he is making it clear to the world, that he possesses the required expertise, experience and prowess to transform India.

As far as his target audiences are concerned, he carefully hand-picks them based on the areas that are most likely in support of the opposing parties and the ones which have not been tapped by his party yet. Also, he has created a sort of a brand for himself, which is instrumental in enticing audiences including naysayers, to witness his speeches and later, his splendid rhetoric skills work the magic.

A few years back, Gujarat was known for its lack of ample touristy places and was seldom on an ideal travellers’ list. But, with the incessant promotion efforts by NaMo through the ‘Khushboo Gujarat ki’ campaign, by roping in big shots like Mr. Amitabh Bacchan as its brand ambassador, revamping the indigenous Tana-Riri and Tarnetar festivals, a 14% growth was witnessed in the industry as compared to last year.

Why was he one of the very first to have sent recue to the Uttarakhand flood victims earlier this year or very recently, the Phailin affected regions, when he was plainly inadequate in doing the same for the riot victims of 2002 in his very state. Is it that these 10 years have suddenly awakened his philanthropic/humanistic instincts or are they just mere marketing gimmicks keeping the 2014 elections in mind?

Modi, is definitely one of the finest marketers our country has, as on today. But, the question worth pondering is does he deserve to be leading India in the coming years? This is the most disputable topic that we are faced with today. However, there is no denying to the fact that his ability to ‘hard-sell’ himself as the torchbearer of a meliorated India Inc., coupled with his impeccable oratory skills will definitely give him an edge over his rivals and in turn, boost his candidature, big time.

I would like to leave you with just one thought – if you are faced with a dilemma wherein you have to choose between a rotten, corrupt government with an impeccable candidate on one hand and a relatively decent one with a good-for-nothing representative, who would you go for?

Disclaimer: The author of this article has tried to be as neutral in her approach, as possible; however, influences due to one’s affinity towards a certain political party or one of its leaders for instance, are inevitable.

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Happiness on Sale

The war for being the best soft drink has been extended for over a century now. The so called ‘Cola War” is the continuous advertisement form one Cola Company to undermine the other. The two sides of the battleship being Pepsico and The Coca-Cola Company, the war has spread out to every possible channel in the modern world with Coca-Cola clearly taking a lead.

The modern channel which Coca-Cola has adopted to throttle ahead of its rival is the social media space, especially Youtube where its videos are posted and subsequently shared on the entire web space within moments of its launch. There are over a thousand uploads on the Coke’s Youtube channel owing to the overwhelming response from viewers and subscribers.

It has successfully been able to attain what is referred to as the “Marketer’s Dream”. The central theme of Coca-Cola’s strategy is to create and spread “Happiness”: the eternal insatiable emotion that everyone seeks and will definitely have if sold out so easily in the market. Jonathan Mildenhall, Coca-Cola’s advertising strategist says that their aim is to create stories that add value and significance to people’s life. These campaigns use guerilla marketing as well as viral advertising to be a Youtube hit.

A few of its most remarkable viral campaigns are:

The Hug Machine: a coke delivery machine was installed to accept hugs instead of money to deliver Happiness i.e. Coke.

The most outrageous way to share a Coke: where engineering students designed an elaborate contraption to pour coke.

The Happiness Truck: videos of a coke truck delivering free coke (=happiness) around the world were posted on the internet.

Small World Machines: One of the most notable viral campaigns which intends to bridge the divide and portray a symbiotic relationship between archrivals India and Pakistan. Installations of machines were made in Delhi and Lahore which enabled people from cross-borders to interact with those who they had never seen. It tends to highlight the deep rooted connection which these neighboring countries bear.


 Why was the campaign successful?

In a way Coca-Cola mastered the art of creating a liquid content i.e. easily spreadable like a liquid. The creation of online videos and their spread on the social media follows an exponential path. The concept of happiness was successful in capturing the share of heart of the target market: the youth, depicting “Happiness”, which everyone so desperately wants, is as easily attainable as is opening a can of Coke. The campaign tends to pitch Coke on the principles of motivation and positivity, and thus making its global acceptance unquestionable because these are virtues which everyone will appreciate irrespective of his/her citizenship or ethnicity. Also, the campaign was able to very strongly link the portrayal in the advertisement back to the Brand Coca-Cola implying an effort to capture the mindshare of the customers as well. It was an interactive campaign also in the sense that it initiated people to talk about the brand and then respond to their comments, making the campaign a more personal one.

Depicting happy people in an ad is one thing but getting people to have a feel of it such that they espouse your brand can be learnt from Coca-Cola. As a result Coke has,


Two and a half times that of Pepsi

Views on Youtube channel

Twice that of Pepsi

Youtube subscribers

Three times that of Pepsi

 Coke is being sold to the customer’s mind and heart as against any other carbonated drink serving just to quench a dry throat!

-Zeeshan Hassan
PGP-2, IIM-Kozhikode

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A trip down memory lane

For a kid growing up, the late 80′s and early ’90s were a bit of an enigma. While Hollywood was throwing one hit after another, with the decline of big names like Amitabh Bachchan and actors such as Shahrukh and Amir yet to come of age, Bollywood was going through a lean patch. Naturally, the switch to television didn’t come as much of a surprise. Doordarshan had a complete monopoly then. Doordarshan National, or simply DD1 was all that there was, and hence, almost became synonymous with television. It certainly had its audience, though. A new market was emerging, and TV producers were quick to seize the opportunity. Filling their coffers, and in turn, getting their own filled, were the advertisers. Ads back then were long, really really long. Almost all had a jingle. The shortage of enough advertisers and the growing number of TV shows ensured that these ads were played over and over again. And this is how they became entrenched and fixated in our memory, forever and beyond. Here’s a trip down your memory lane:

15) Kinetic Luna: Kinetic has always been the innovator when it comes to two-wheelers. However, a moped, technically a cross between a cycle and a motorcycle, was a product that was a class apart. Was there a need? Yes. Was the need fulfilled? Most certainly. Was the fulfilment communicated? See it for yourself:

14) Asian Paints: Homecoming is always a cause to rejoice. But when your all conquering prodigal son return from the warfront, a home is all he craves for. So what defines a home? Well, as per Asian Paints, the paint on the walls is as important as the people living within them.

13) Pan Parag: Back in the days when Manikchand and Pan Bahar were still in their infancy, Pan Parag ruled the roosts. Chewing Pan Parag was a thing for the elite, as exemplified by Ashok Kumar and Shammi Kapoor in this advert:

12) Lijjat Papad: Long before Shri Mahila Grih Udyog became a case study in business schools, it was a cooperative which saw another, Amul, take birth and establish itself as India’s most popular son-of-the-soil brand. That was before this happened:

11) Suzuki Samurai: Unlike many others, for bike riders, Suzuki bikes come with no riders attached. Or at least so do the Japs say, like our friend here:

10) Dabur Lal Dant Manjan: There’s no harm in admitting to guilt if you have sinned. Likewise, it’s perfectly fine to purchase your favourite tooth powder even if it comes at the cost of losing an ounce of pride in front of your student. The ideal teacher, we call him:

9) Vicks Classic: Peroxides and their Kharasch effect might have confused Markovnikoffs and the like for ages, but Kharash effect causes no such trouble to Vicks. This ad also gave us a very popular jingle. Which one? Let’s find out:

8) Liril: For its utter audacity and brazenness, this Liril ad finds itself in the top 10 of our list.  In an age when you used to bend down and tie your shoe lace in embarrassment when the protagonist would embrace his love interest on the screen, this ad was certainly a path breaker and trend-setter:

7) Fair and Lovely: There is a subtle difference in the Fair and Lovely ads of today and of the times we’re discussing. As much as it’s a virtue to be considered fair today, it is as big a fault to be dark complexioned. Being fair was a virtue back then too, but then your skin’s possession of melanin wasn’t a sin either. But then, given a chance, who wouldn’t want to be a Juhi Chawla?

6) Rasna: The Cokes and the Pepsis were yet to make it big and when the tongue craved for a tangy, juicy, pulpy experience, Rasna was where most turned to:

5) Surf: Back then, when comparison wasn’t the norm, not too many products called themselves the best. Fewer still called themselves the cheapest. Surf called itself both. This is how:

4) Amul: Amul had always been a leader of sorts. Not only was it the first home-grown dairy brand, but it was also the first among its like to develop an entire portfolio of milk made products.  There was Pasteurised milk, there was the utterly butterly delicious butter and then there were chocolates. Connecting all of these was the punch line: ‘The Taste of India’

3) Dhara: Unarguably the sweetest of the adverts back then, this Dhara commercial made every parent want a child like the one in the ad, and every such child want a grandfather like the one in the ad. Dhara, though, couldn’t stand the test of times and was kept on the backburner by Mother Dairy. However, for the sheer nostalgia this ad generates, it finds a place in our top three:

2) Bajaj: While Maruti 800 drove the middle class in the ’90s, the job was started much much earlier by Bajaj, that too, with two lesser tyres. On weekdays, the now discontinued Bajaj scooter was a must for the office going middle class. On weekends, it doubled up a vehicle for the entire family of 4. Another legendary ad, another unforgettable jingle:

1) Nirma: A brand that gave the Levers and the P&Gs a run for their money. It features on the first page of the Bible of Marketing. Need we say more?


In case there are some we missed, feel free to post them in the comments section!


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Through The Ages: Pepsi and Indian Cricket

The article tracks how over the years, PepsiCo’s commercials, on television, have mimicked the performance of the Indian Cricket team, on the field, and is the shifting focus to football a cause of concern for Indian Cricket?

Pepsi has always been the ‘sightscreen’ of cricket in India. Over the years its cricket centric advertisements have been immensely successful. Taglines like ‘Yahi hai right choice baby’,  ‘Dil Maange More’, ‘Oye Bubbly’, ‘Youngistan Meri Jaan’ and ‘Change The Game’ have become iconic and been instrumental in taking Pepsico to where it stands today. The success can be attributed to the great cord that these ads have been able to strike with the cricket watching audience. However, the fact that these ads have been contemporary has made them ever so relevant, hence, adding to the charm.

PepsiCo entered the Indian market in 1989 in a joint venture with Lehar. Ever since it bought out the shares of Lehar post 1991 reforms, it sought to outperform traditional rival, Coca Cola. Big advertisements in cricket then were Insurance giants Prudential and Cornhill and Cigarette majors Benson & Hedges, Four Square and Wills. Interestingly, it was Coke which chose to bat first on the newly laid pitch by becoming the official sponsor of the 1996 World Cup. Pepsi, however, had an ace up its sleeve. Within days of the commencement, it came up with a one of a kind Guerrila Marketing campaign ‘Nothing Official About It’, featuring, inter alia, Sachin Tendulkar, Vinod Kambli, Mohammad Azharuddin, Ian Bishop, Courtney Walsh, Dominic Cork and even umpire Dickie Bird.

Given the magnitude of success that the campaign experienced and the fact that power centre for cricket was slowly shifting to the sub-continent from the Britains and Australias, PepsiCo management decided it was time to take the plunge and vie for the greatest share of the newly formed pie. Sachin Tendulkar was signed in as the brand ambassador, and he featured in a series of ads with the famous theme ‘Ye Dil Maange More’

The impact this campaign had on the Indian youth can be adjudged from the fact that the dying words of Capt. Vikram Batra, who posthumously received the Param Vir Chakra in the Kargil Conflict were ‘Ye Dil Maange More’.

By the time the next world cup took place in England for which it was an official sponsor, Pepsi had a proper marketing strategy in place with Bollywood superstars Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol and Rani Mukherjee, fresh from the success of Yash Raj Film’s Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, already on board. Shah Rukh Khan’s dressing room commercial shown during the entire World Cup was a huge success and generated enormous interest in Pepsi as a brand.

The turn of the century saw the soft drink majors in the eye of the storm of the Pesticide controversy. The Centre for Science and Environment reported Pepsi (and Coke) contained more that permissible amount of carcinogenic pesticide content. Within two months of publishing of these reports, the sales fell by 21%. Something drastic needed to be done, and Pepsi once again turned to cricket. While Coke went the traditional way with celebrity endorser Aamir Khan citing researches all over the world certifying its safety via its ‘Thanda Matlab Coca Cola Campaign’, Pepsi went the other way with Sachin and Shah Rukh sarcastically proclaiming ‘Pepsi Dangerous Hai’, not due to the Pesticide content, but due to selfish desires caused by the great taste it offers.

During the 2003 World Cup in South Africa, Pepsi went back on its old strategy of having multiple players from multiple teams in the ads. This time, the list included Shane Warne and Carl Hooper, who were depicted trying to kidnap Sachin and make him unavailable to play against their respective sides.

It was also during the 2003 world cup, that the remarkable huddle ad was made. It was portrayed that the Saurav Ganguly led side, which formed a huddle at the fall of each wicket did that as an excuse to relish the tangy soft drink. The ad, although slightly controversial, was reminiscent of the 1996 brand of non-traditional and rebellious advertisement campaigns.

The following year, the Indian team went to Pakistan for the first time in years, for what was slated as ‘Dosti Series’. It was an enormous marketing opportunity for Pepsi as it was the principal sponsor of the Pakistan cricket team apart from being a major force in the Indian market. The advertisement campaigns highlighted the competitive spirit between the cross border rivals, despite the entire series being billed as a promoter for friendship and harmony. The ads showed the Indian players all set to set foot on the Pakistani soil, carrying souvenirs from their native places to be gifted to members of the Pakistani team. However, when it came to sharing ‘Pepsi’, from brothers, they turned to brothers in arms.


During the return leg of the Dosti Series, Pepsi went ahead only with Shah Rukh and delivered another memorable jingle, ‘Oye Bubbly’.

It was around this period that Saurav Ganguly was asked to quit as the captain, and Indian Cricket saw some of its worst days. Pepsi, however, kept faith in Indian Cricket, and with Rahul Dravid at its helm, devised a new campaign ‘Ooh Aah India, Aya India’.

However, India after a brief period of unprecedented success, India flopped during the 2007 World Cup, bowing out in the first round, after losing to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

When cricket fails, most Indian sponsors turn to Bollywood. However, Pepsi stuck to cricket, albeit, with significant adaptations. MS Dhoni, who successfully captained India to win in the inaugural ICC T20 World Cup in 2007 was roped in as the brand ambassador, as the focus shifted more towards the youth than the entire cricket loving population. Even Bollywood saw the emergence of youth heartthrobs John Abraham, Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone over seasoned campaigners like Shah Rukh Khan.

 The 2011 World Cup, though, was the ‘game changer’. Continuing with its tradition of star-studded advertisement campaigns during world cups, Pepsi went ahead with the unique change the game campaign. It has players and officials from all over the world showcasing the novelty that they have brought to the game. From Shakib Al Hasan’s Lap Sweep, to Dilshan’s Dil-scoop, Pietersen’s Switch Hit, Harbhajan’s Doosra, Sehwag’s Upper Cut, Billy Bowden’s crooked finger to MS Dhoni’s Helicopter Shot, the new campaign had it all.

Another parallel campaign had the entire Indian cricket team brandishing the colors of Pepsi smeared all over their topless torsos.

India’s success in the 2011 World Cup gave a lot of mileage to this campaign, and it ran for months after the World Cup was over. It was the devastating losses that India suffered at the hands of England and then Australia which brought these to an abrupt halt, and marked the end of the honeymoon between Pepsi and Indian cricket.

That Pepsi would venture outside cricket would be considered blasphemous five years ago. That Pepsi would do so within a year of India winning a World Cup, was unimaginable. Yet, it happened.  Football’s subtle, yet steady growth in popularity coupled with shambolic performances in the cricket field made Pepsi change the game, this time literally. With Ranbir Kapoor being made to eat humble pie by a young football enthusiast, it looked as if Pepsi had finally moved on.

That was February.

Come April, cricket made a comeback, perhaps its second innings. This time though, it had to share screen space with football. The ‘Mauke Pe Chauka’ ad had Harbhajan, Raina and Kohli, along with Dhoni. Joining them though, were Chelsea legends Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard and Fernando Torres. In the football-cricket cross game that ensued, (much like the situation with Pepsi) it wasn’t clear which game won.

A lot of changes have happened since. Drogba is no longer at Chelsea with Harbhajan, no longer a regular in the Indian side. Torres is struggling to find form with Raina yet to establish himself in the test team. Their performances over the course of the coming years will decide their future.

Perhaps, even Bubbly’s.

 This article is a precursor to Konsume, the monthly newsletter published by mPower-The marketing club of IIM Kozhikode. The theme for Konsume, March 2013 edition is Marketing and Sports.

The article, written by a member of the mPower editorial board, first appeared in Sportkeeda on 30th Jan, 2013, and is reproduced here with his full consent.

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Meet The KMAC’ed


After days of fantastic innovations and hours of intense marketing, these teams have made it big.

Join mPower in congratulating these teams for getting the mPower certification. These teams have been awarded K-MAC

Congratulations !!

Click Here for K-MAC Team Video

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K-MAC Results !!!

Congratulations to the following teams for qualifying for Round 2. . Start preparing for the second round. Contact your mentors for guidelines.

Tough luck for the teams which could not make it. We appreciate the efforts of all those who submitted their sector reports.

Team No. Team Name
2 Bazinga
4 3 Marketeers
5 Brandstormers
10 The Markomaniacs
14 The Power of S
15 3 Idiots
16 Functionally Narcissistic
17 Musketeers
19 Skywalkers
24 Shyama Prasath B
25 Koroshiya
30 Blitzkrieg
32 Niche
33 M-Built
34 Fast Forward Team
39 Concept Crew
41 Three Marketeers
43 Rudra
44 Tathagat
47 Amoeba Boyz
49 Trishool
54 Iovaria
60 Penchant
61 D Company
63 Konquerers
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