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Cola giants planning to create storm in a tea cup

09-July-2005
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Cola giants planning to create storm in a tea cup

Cola giants are drawing up plans to garner the maximum possible share of an Indian's daily liquid consumption. Towards this end, both Coca-Cola and Pepsi are now eyeing the space of that uncontrollable afternoon refresher -- the most common tea or coffee.

"We are looking at a bunch of options. The morning tea is hard to displace. But the afternoon tea appears vulnerable. Sprite, with its pick-me-up and re-energising positioning, could be an ideal replacement for the afternoon tea," Vikas Gupta, Coca-Cola India's vice-president - marketing, said.

Pepsi, given a choice, would have liked to step in even earlier. It would want you to keep taking swigs from a bottle of the new 7Up Ice, which, says a spokesperson for the company, is "ideal as a meal accompaniment". (Its new campaign on radio creates the image of the drink being guzzled after consumption of fiery red chillies.)

Gupta points out that carbonated soft drinks, which are likely to sell about 500,000 cases a year, are just 3 per cent of the country's commercial beverage consumption, which includes almost everything except tap water.

Of course, the ideal situation for them would be akin to the one prevailing in the US, where it is not too difficult to find individuals who would reach out for a cola every time they felt thirsty.

The key to the Promised Land, both the companies believe, is product innovation. Which is how they have ended up with Sprite Ice along side 7Up Ice, and orange and pineapple flavours of Maaza, generally identified with the sweetness of mango.

"We have to keep reminding the consumer of our brands and interrupt wherever possible," says Gupta. Over to the tea shop around the corner then. Will coolers replace the stove?

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