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Lowe Lintas bags business for iconic Indian cola brand Thums Up

After a pitch that went on for nearly a year, the account for Thums Up, an Indian cola brand, has moved from Leo Burnett to Lowe Lintas.

Leo Burnett had worked on the brand for over two decades and was also said to be in the fray for the business.

Developed as an indigenous cola by Indian beverage company Parle in 1977, shortly after the withdrawal of Coca-Cola from India, Thums Up gained an outsized influence and popularity.

It’s with macho advertising with the ‘Taste The Thunder’ tagline, featured iconic Indian film stars.

Thums Up was acquired by Coca-Cola in 1993. Last year, the company revealed plans to take it to other South Asian markets and make it a billion dollar brand by 2020.

Speaking to Mumbrella, group chief creative officer and chairman MullenLowe Lintas Group Amer Jaleel said: “We had been trying to get into a relationship with Coca-Cola for some time now.

“A few years ago, we’d done a summer campaign for Coke and had hoped that would be the start of us making it to the brand’s roster. For one reason or the other, that didn’t fructify.

“But we kept our eye on Coke since it had so many inspirational brands. A year ago, an opportunity came our way via a multi-agency pitch.”

Asked about the approach to the pitch, Jaleel said: “Because of the regard we had for the brand, our approach was different – I don’t know how the others did it.

“Thums Up has always kept pace with masculinity. And so we thought, what if, instead of looking at the brand and its relation to masculinity, we look at masculinity itself?

“And so we examined the new codes and what millennials are thinking about.

“We went beyond just regular research and spoke to people from the Indian film industry like (actor and producer) Rana Dugabatti, and filmmakers like Anurag Kashyap and R Balakrishnan (who was previously group chairman at MullenLowe Lintas).

“We incorporated the essence of our conversations into the pitch. And maybe we won the race because Coke was appreciative of our inputs and thinking.”

Looking forward to a “fabulous run” with Thums Up, Jaleel said: “I hope we get a chance to work as long as the incumbent did or even longer.”

The first campaign is scheduled to break in time to catch the peak summer season in India and will star Thums Up’s current brand ambassador, Bollywood star Ranveer Singh.

Coca-Cola India and south west vice president of the sparkling category, Shrenik Dasani said: “For over 40 years running, Thums Up has brought the taste of thunder to Indian taste buds.

“It has always been a unique icon of masculinity which reminds us that heroism is a choice, that we can unleash our true potential if we only choose to push the boundaries of self-belief.

“We are very excited to continue finding refreshed expressions of this thought, now with our new partner.

“This partnership comes at a truly epic stage of our journey, as we move ever closer to reaching the $1 billion mark, and as the brand begins to expand beyond India, into South-West Asian markets. We couldn’t have thought of a better ally to help us take the thunder deeper into the Indian youth’s hearts and minds.”

The scope of work includes creative services for Thums Up and its brand extensions. The account will be handled out of the Delhi office of Lowe Lintas.

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