Pesticide controversy may have taken the fizz out of the soft drink industry but the beverage giants Coke and Pepsi are doing every bit — including launch of new brands — to create excitement and spur sales this summer.
To start with, Coca-Cola India is all set to launch its flavour extension of Coca-Cola Classic brand Vanilla Coke. The brand, industry sources say, will be initially imported in cans and PET bottles by the company.
Coca-Cola India president and CEO Sanjiv Gupta when contacted refused to comment. Company sources, however, said the idea is still at a ‘conceptual’ stage and is being tested.
Industry sources, however, insist that the launch of Vanilla Coke is round the corner. The brand, they say, will be seeded in the market to create excitement in a rather subdued soft drinks market. It will be supported with a high blitz advertising campaign featuring film star Vivek Oberoi.
Pepsi, meanwhile, is believed to be mulling various options it can offer to counter Vanilla Coke’s launch. The soft drink major had last year launched Pepsi Blue, a flavour extension of its flagship cola drink Pepsi as a limited edition to coincide with the World Cup.
This year, Pepsi has decided to field its sports drink Gatorade albeit ‘informally’ with the Indian cricket team who the company officials said are ‘fond’ of the drink.
“It (Gatorade) will not be a commercial launch. But we will be placing the brand informally with the Indian cricket team who seem to be fond of the drink,” Pepsi Foods executive director (marketing) Shashi Kalathil told FE. The brand, Mr Kalathil said, will be imported from either Italy or Thailand. “It’s too niche a brand and we have not decided whether we will do a commercial launch as yet,” he added.
Meanwhile, Pepsi which is a co-sponsor of the forthcoming India-Pakistan cricket series, will also kickstart its cricket specific advertising with a new campaign featuring Indian cricketers.
The company, Mr Kalathil said, has cancelled the earlier idea of shooting an ad in Pakistan with Pakistan cricketers due to the latter’s ‘hectic camp schedule’ and will now go ahead with the one featuring Indian cricketers.