Coca Cola pulls RimZim out of cold storage

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Move on cola wars, it’s the battle of the desi flavours. After PepsiCo relaunched its lemony drink Duke in various localised flavours last year, it is now time for rival Coca Cola to spice up the aerated drinks market with 80s brand RimZim, the masala soda drink. Not just that, the company plans to add a twist to RimZim with a more contemporary formulation and packaging as per the evolving palate of Indian consumers.

Not only is the company looking at retaining brand heritage in terms of reviving nostalgia, it is also trying to expand consumer base with youth as RimZim’s main TG. Debabrata Mukherjee, VP, Strategy and Innovations, Coca-Cola India, adds, “The distinct Indian taste preference with a dominant spicy palate has been the prime reason for re-formulating the ‘Masala Soda’ in order to make the product more contemporary and relevant for the young adults of today’s times.” The new packaging has been created by branding studio agency Design ORB, which also created the commemorative Sachin Tendulkar Coca Cola cans earlier this year.

RimZim, which was bought over by Coca Cola from Parle’s Ramesh Chauhan in the 1990s, is currently being piloted in select towns in Punjab, Haryana and in parts of Delhi (towards the last week of August). For the record, Coca Cola acquired Thums Up, Limca, Gold Spot, Limca, Citra and Maaza too from Chauhan in 1993. While Thums Up, Limca and Maaza continued to survive in the market, the others lost some fizz and were discontinued. However, there was news that the company also started piloting brands like Citra too in the market.

Debabrata Mukherjee

Debabrata Mukherjee, VP, Strategy and Innovations, Coca-Cola India

During the pilot phase, RimZim will be available in two SKUs – 600 ml PET pack, priced at Rs 25 . In comparison, PepsiCo’s Duke is available in 200 ml RGB (returnable glass bottle) at Rs 10 and 500 ml PET bottles at Rs 25, which is more or less as competitively priced. Experts feel that relaunching an old brand has more to do with widening the brand’s portfolio and offerings and increasing volumes rather than reviving the brand heritage. In this case, it seems the two beverages giants are leveraging on the growing demand for more and more localised flavours, deemed as healthy too.

Through this launch, Coca Cola aims to capture the growing demand for the brand. Hence, to begin with marketing efforts are focused on enhancing brand visibility through an aggressive consumer activation campaign to market RimZim in selected channels and outlets in the three regions.

Coca Cola started advertising heavily on radio before the relaunch to create the brand connect with the company as the advertisements signed off with the company’s name being mentioned towards the end. In addition, its marketing communication plan focuses on Out-of-Home media complimented with a range of activities including radio and print advertising, extensive experiential sampling, point of sale/shopper communication and presence in engaging touch points. A new brand campaign has been specially created for RimZim.

Keeping the core of the drink’s Indian taste, the entire brand campaign is being communicated through its tagline ‘Har sip main masala’. Mukherjee explains, “The word masala transcends food and beverages, and epitomises the melting pot called India. It’s a one word explanation of what we experience – an assault on the senses.”

Thus, the company is seriously looking at tapping into the emerging market for flavoured aerated drinks other than cola with a wider portfolio. According to global market research agency, eprobe, the Indian carbonated industry is worth Rs 60 billion and growing now at 5 per cent annually with a compound annual growth rate of 4.5 per cent. Encouraged by the growth of this industry, Coca Cola plans to invest $5 billion till 2020 in the Indian market.

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