COCA COLA INDIA
Pushkar Chaudhary - Area Marketing Manager and Mohammed
Akeel - Area General Manager, Coca Cola India, spoke
to Chennaibest.com about Vijay, the new brand ambassador
of Coca Cola, about Coke's marketing strategy, which is, “Think
local and Act Local” and about the soft drinks market in Tamil Nadu.
Could you elaborate on your brand endorsement
deal with Vijay?
Tamil Nadu, we have always believed that movies and music have a
large following. The trend is similar, throughout the country,
but accentuated more in Tamil Nadu. Teenagers seem to follow movies,
music and of course the movie stars. The obvious indicators being
the kind of fan clubs most movie stars have. If you take the case
of Vijay, when we finished the ad, many of his fan clubs came and
took his 'Coke posters' to be displayed at vantage places in and
around theatres screening his recent movie ‘Badri’.
We wanted to capitalise on this, and use it as part of our marketing
strategy. We have done this successfully. For example, we tried
it last year with a Vijay starrer ‘Priyamanavale’ and we
did a set of activities centred on ‘Priyamanavale’, which were received
very well. We have also used stars nationally Hrithik, Aamir
and Aishwarya and it worked well for us and we thought
why not Vijay, who is one of the top stars in Tamil Nadu, to endorse
our brand. That is why we tied up with him. It did not happen
immediately. He took some time to think it over since this was
the first time he was going to endorse a product.
To my mind we will do well as the first commercial has already
come and the ‘gaana’ song seems to be on every youngster’s lips
within just a few days itself.
Does regional content for local marketing
That was the whole idea of this tie-up. The four southern states
are in reality different countries. The things that work well in
the rest of the country do not do well in Tamil Nadu, Kerala or
Andhra. Karnataka is more or less cosmopolitan especially Bangalore.
For example when we did tie-ups with movies like Hum Saath
Saath Hain and Kaho Na Pyar Hai, starring
big names from Bollywood they did not do well in Tamil Nadu
and all the activities that we did around these movies, also did
not fare well. The people here do not relate to these stars, some
cannot even pronounce Hrithik’s name right, they call him Karthik
Why was the ad shot in Hyderabad and featured
Amrita Rao, when you are eyeing the local audience?
For any commercial, the audience would not know where it is shot.
For example an earlier commercial was shot in Lawrence School
in Ooty and nobody could place where they shot it. It does
not’t make a difference whether it is shot in Loyola or
NIFT. These are cinematic decisions made by the director of
the ad. We have no say in it. There are local models available
but Rajiv Menon decided on Amrita. I feel that she would appeal
to the Tamil audience and it is immaterial whether she is from Chennai
What are the promotions that you have planned
for your other brands?
In fact last year we had done a big promotion for Rajni 25 with
Fanta. So we started with Fanta last year and we have plans
for Fanta, Limca, Sprite and Maaza this year. I would
not be able to elaborate on those plans for specific reasons.
Could you pinpoint any specific market patterns
that Tamil Nadu has when it comes to the soft drinks market?
terms of market growth and in terms of market behaviour it is similar
to the rest of the country. What is different from the rest of
the country is the brand consumption pattern. Andhra, Karnataka
and Kerala are neighbouring states. In Andhra Pradesh the largest
selling brand is Thums Up, Fanta has very low consumption
levels. In the neighbouring state, which is Tamil Nadu the largest
selling brand is Fanta while Thumps Up is non-existent here. It
just doesn’t sell here. In Karnataka, Coke and Thumps Up
sell as much as each other. Kerala is a big soda market. So that
is the way it is.
How different is your strategy for Tamil Nadu
from the national strategy?
It is very different. There is nothing, which is national, which
we roll out in Tamil Nadu or Kerala. For example there is a promotion
going on in the North which will start soon, it will not be implemented
in Tamil Nadu or Kerala where we will have our own promotions.
In fact the Coca Cola promotion has already started in Tamil Nadu
with the Vijay starrer Badri.