As Indian athletes gear-up for the Tokyo Olympics, beverage brand Thums Up is ready to create a fizz at the Olympics. Official beverage partner Coca-Cola’s portfolio will, for the first time, feature the over 4-decade-old Indian brand at the Games.

With the company focussing on repositioning brand Thums Up and turning to the stories of real heroes, it has inked strategic sponsorship deals with wrestler Bajrang Punia, boxer Vikas Yadav and ace archers Deepika Kumari and Atanu Das. The beverage major will, in collaboration with the National Rifle Association of India, also sponsor the shooting contingent including Manu Bhaker.

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Talking about the repositioning strategy, Arnab Roy, Vice-President-Marketing, Coca-Cola India and South West Asia, told BusinessLine : “As the country has been facing challenging times for the past 18 months, the Indian society and culture have witnessed an interesting transition with real heroes such as health workers, doctors and people in various communities taking the centre-stage. Talking to various consumer groups, we felt it was the right time for brand Thums Up, which has stood for heroism, to take a bit of a leap and lean towards real life and authentic stories.”

Ads featuring athletes

These athletes will feature in the new Thums Up ad campaign. The beverage major will also be launching limited edition Thums Up collectible cans for the Olympics, which is slated to kick-off from July 23. “We have been one of the oldest sponsors of the Olympics games since 1928. So, for activating this association in India, we felt there is an amazing opportunity for Thums Up to tell these powerful stories of courage and resilience of these Indian athletes, who will be representing the country at the Tokyo Olympics. So, this will be the first time Thums Up will be part of the Olympic games,” he said.

The brand will be backing the campaign across various mediums including TV and digital with considerable spends.

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Experts believe for a nation that’s been historically known to be cricket crazy, non-cricketing sporting stars have come a long way in landing key sponsorship deals in recent years. The beverage major is said to be in talks for sponsorship agreements with other athletes and teams.

“I feel this is the best contingent that India is sending to the Olympics and this could be the turnaround year. Just look at the way shooting has transformed over the last decade as a sport with our athletes having done a phenomenal job. I think we are close to the inflection point of transitioning from a cricket-loving nation to a sports-loving nation,” Roy said.