Pepsi, Coke step up marketing for Indian summer

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BOMBAY -- U.S. soft drinks marketer PepsiCo has relaunched its 7-Up brand in India. The revamp includes a new taste and an ad campaign via Hindustan Thompson Associates, New Delhi, which features endorsements from two of India's leading tennis players, Mahesh Bhapathi and Leander Paes.

Pepsi, which commands a 43% share of the overall Indian soft drinks market compared with Coca-Cola India's esti mated 51%, cites research which shows 7-Up is the most popular clear lemon drink in the local market.

Pepsi also has simultaneously launched a new promotion for its 1.5-liter Pepsi cola bottle. Timed to coincide with the India versus Australia Pepsi cricket series, the offer entails the purchase of two big Pepsi bottles for a free "Win the Pepsi Cup" cricket board game.

"Wanna be the captain?" says the head line of a Thompson print ad that features key Pepsi endorser and captain of the Indian cricket team, Mohammed Azharuddin.

Not to be left behind, rival Coca-Cola on March 15 and 16 will sponsor a live performance of Nordic pop singer Whig field in Bombay and New Delhi respectively.

The marketer, which has unleashed a print campaign for the concerts via Chaitra Leo Burnett, Bombay, seeks to capitalize on Ms. Whigfield's popularity in Indian nightclub and pub circuits. Bombay-based Music Asia channel is the other sponsor.

"Coca-Cola makes Saturday night happen on Sunday", says the Burnett ad for the Coke drink.

Both Pepsi and Coca-Cola have stepped up their marketing activity in expectation of rising sales from an oncoming Indian summer, the season that records the high est soft drinks consumption in the country.

Copyright March 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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