Thums Up starts a new innings in cricket with Jasprit Bumrah’s thunder
Thums Up was created and launched in 1977, after American beverage major Coca-Cola withdrew from India due to regulations requiring it to disclose its formula and selling 60% of its equity to an Indian company under the then Indian government’s order to foreign-owned companies to share stakes with domestic partners. After Coke’s exit from India, businessman Ramesh Chauhan launched Thums Up, which went on to enjoy a monopoly for almost 20 years. He made the fizz stronger and marketed it as a more ‘manly’ drink for the youth of 80’s and 90’s. Popular cricketers and Bollywood celebrities were roped in to endorse the brand. That, coupled with a peppy tagline of ‘Happy days are here again’, made Thums Up a household name in the cola category. Its competitors at that time included Campa Cola and Double Seven. Thums Up managed to garner a strong market share in its early days in the market, which it continues to maintain even today, especially in the Northern states.
Thums Up was also a major sponsor of cricket matches and also had a notable presence at the Sharjah cricket matches. In the early 1980s, it came out with several postcards featuring Sunil Gavaskar and Imran Khan and association with cricket was quite strong with Gavaskar endorsing the brand. If you closely observe the soft drink brands most of them are either endorsed by a cricketer or a Bollywood celebrity. When ThumsUp was repositioned with their new line, ‘Taste The Thunder’, they slowly introduced the Bollywood celebrities which was initially Akshay Kumar followed by Salman Khan later to bring in that macho factor with a strong brand personality and aura around the brand.Both Akshay and Salman resonated well with the brand and were associated with the brand for quite some time.
But recently for the Olympic 2020 the brand came back into limelight with sports and launched their campaign that truly reflects the mood of not just the athletes representing India at the Olympic Games, but the entire nation. Every bottle in the hand of every consumer is now also their voice to 'Palat De' all the naysayers who say they can't or shouldn't do it. The brand has moved back to cricket where they showcased the tough journey of Mohammed Siraj in the first advertisement beforehe becoming a true inspiration for the youth of the country. Continuing with cricketnow Jasprit Bumrah has been roped in as the brand ambassador for their new campaign ‘Toofan’. Jasprit who is known for his speed in bowling is the toofan of the Indian bowling attackand who has consistently delivered results in all formats of the game for the country.
Thums Up always stood for its machismo and adventurous image in the cola category. The brand has become synonymous with courage, bravery, victory, and authentic communication over the last few years making its way to the hearts of millions of Indians. The latest Toofan campaign is aimed at inspiring audiences to reach their ‘Palat De’ moments by teaming their strong, unshakeable belief systems and undying spirits with the strong taste of Thums Up. While Bumrah may look very cool and boyish, but his ruthless and relentless bowling performance resonates well with the toofani idea and thinking.
According to Tish Condeno, Senior Category Director Sparkling Flavours, Coca-Cola India and Southwest Asia, “Thums Up has always been a loved beverage by our consumers for its strong taste and experience, which has been the core differentiator in the category. In continuity with our partnership with the Toofan of our Indian Cricket Team - Jasprit Bumrah who is known for his pace, strength and resilient attitude on the field, this new campaign offers a strong execution idea - ‘Soft Drink nahi, Toofan’. “
Commenting on the campaign, Sukesh Nayak, Chief Creative Officer, Ogilvy India, said, “The big idea to land strong drink for me is the repositioning of the commonly used word ‘soft drink’. An iconic brand like Thums Up which stands for the ‘never give up attitude’ deserved a separate word to be called out as, hence, ‘soft drink nahi toofan’. From the day we thought of this idea, we all knew that this can be huge and we were thrilled to see all our partners react with same excitement when they heard about the core thought. A big shout out to my team and Bob, who have truly brought this idea to life with an execution that is bold and powerful. This is a big idea and Jasprit is the first part of it, so watch out for some more toofani action coming soon.”
Sharing his perspective on the ThumsUp campaign Vistasp Hodiwala Co-Founder and CCO, Underdog; Co-Founder, Centrick, said, “The Thums Up campaigns have always been raw on emotion, grounded and visceral, be it with film stars or sports stars. However, this appeal is always far better enunciated when it draws upon a sportsperson because of the sheer truth of their backgrounds. In Bumrah, India has finally discovered a fast-bowling icon with whom there are no Ifs or buts. Superlatives flow easily when it comes to his presence; and that's because of the performances he almost always backs them with.”
The strength of this campaign therefore is in grasping his appeal correctly (with all the nuances of his shorter run-up) and making it flow utterly seamless with the iconicity of the brand itself. What it also benefits from is its own ‘Palat De’ platform that was already set up brilliantly during the last Olympics. Full marks for executing this as per expectation.
Hodiwala further pointed out that Bumrah, despite being a rather ruthless destroyer of line-ups, has a nice boy appeal and is not really a big one for macho imagery. “So yes, that’s a bit of an artificial construct that the team is going for, but for whatever it is worth they have pulled it off without overdoing it. Out here the craft is in making his macho image stand for the fact that his talent cannot be trifled with, and not just the regular tropes of what comes with being a He-Man. I think today’s audience is discerning enough to understand this difference.
Sharing her views, Nisha Sampath, Managing Partner, Bright Angles Consulting LLP, remarked, “Thums Up is a great example of a brand that has always stayed consistent to its core values of strength, physical mastery, masculinity, and being a bit of a rebel. This is exemplified in the brand baseline 'taste the thunder’. The latest campaign reflects this, while upgrading to a brand ambassador with contemporary appeal. It echoes an old Salman ad where the actor exhorts the audience to 'grow up to Thums Up'. The brand is reminding us again that it is not just another cold drink.”
She further pointed out that fast bowlers have always been the ultimate symbol of male aggression. raw speed and power. Bumrah, with his unconventional bowling style, allows the brand to tap into his personal journey of being different, yet succeeding against the odds. His hunger and passion are always visible when he plays, making him a perfect fit with the brand.
Bumrah may not have the star power – yet – of past endorsers like Akshay and Salman, but he will definitely connect better with the younger generation of Indians, whom Thums Up will seek to bring into the fold.