Campa Cola, whose fortunes have been closely linked to Coca Cola in India, is making a re-entry with Reliance Industries launching the beverage in a new avatar.
Reliance Industries, which acquired the brand last year for ₹22 crore, is launching the fizzy, carbonated drink “contemporised for a new-age India”, in three flavours initially — Campa Cola, Campa Lemon and Campa Orange. The company will start rolling out the beverage in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
“The launch of this brand is in line with the company’s strategy to promote homegrown Indian brands that not only have a rich heritage, but also boast a deep-rooted connect with Indian consumers due to their unique tastes and flavours,” said the company. Campa is housed under Reliance Consumer Products, the FMCG arm and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Retail Ventures.
Iconic soft drink Campa Cola relaunched by Reliance
“Campa Cola is a classic Indian brand, it is right to get a new home. Reliance has the reach, and it is a good brand for Campa. The brand has memories attached to it and it will bring back the memories,” Harish Bijoor, brand strategy expert told businessline.
People of a certain vintage may remember the frothy 1980s advertisement of a bunch of teenagers - a gawky 15-year old Salman Khan among them - cavorting on a boat while guzzling Campa Cola.
Campa Cola was launched in 1977 when Coca-Cola was kicked out of the country by the Morarji Desai government for refusing to part with its secret recipe.
Charanjit Singh, the promoter of Pure Drinks that was then making Coca Cola at its plants, was robbed of his business while he had a substantial workforce on his rolls who would be out of a job due to the government’s decision.
Since he already had the facilities, he launched Campa Cola, an orange flavoured drink. It had to compete with two other brands - state-owned Double Seven and Thumps Up, that was launched the same year by Ramesh Chauhan’s Parle Bisleri. Campa Cola gained market share at the expense of Double Seven, whose taste did not find much favour with consumers.
With the major economic reforms that the country saw in 1991, Coca Cola made a re-entry and was instrumental in the fall of Campa Cola. With the ‘real thing’ available, demand for Campa, at best an imitation, dwindled. In the next ten years it was all downhill and by 2000, it could not be seen anywhere except probably in Haryana, where a small amount was still being bottled.
GREAT INDIAN TASTE
Reliance Industries is now all set to breathe new life into the brand, banking on the nostalgia of the 70s and 80s generation while also hoping that it will catch the fancy and taste buds of a new generation of consumers.
“It is going to be difficult for Reliance to do it,” said Santosh Desai, CEO, of Futurebrands.
“Reliance is not an FMCG company and has acquired consumers by pricing, it can acquire many consumers in great deals but not Cola. They cannot speak to younger consumers. Campa Cola is also not a pan-India brand while Cola is targeted at younger audiences Campa is nostalgic for their parents,” he added.
However Reliance Consumer is optimistic about its appeal. “By presenting Campa in its new avatar, we hope to inspire consumers across generations to embrace this truly iconic brand and trigger a new excitement in the beverage segment,” it said.
With “The Great Indian Taste” as the slogan, and a snappy teaser ad, the drink is priced competitively at ₹10 for a 200 ml bottle and ₹20 for a 500 ml bottle. It also comes in on-the-go sharing packs and 1, 2 litre packs for home consumption