At a time when Indians had very little choice, there were very few products that were preferred because they were really good. A good testament of that is their success in the post liberalisation era, when Indians learnt how to pick up products purely because they liked it, not because there were no other options. Thums Up is one such Indian product that has withstood the onslaught of international brands and stands its ground even now.
And this success could actually be because of the fact that it was created initially — by Parle in 1977 — to fill a void left by one such big international brand – Coca-Cola. It is a bit ironical that the brand is actually owned by Coca-Cola now. So it is no surprise that Thums Up can still stand its ground in front of Coke and Pepsi, and we are talking just taste here.
The loyalty Thums up commands is such that Indians settled abroad are willing to pay a premium for a six-pack of this strong cola, while thousands of compatriots back home still drink only this when they have to choose a dark drink. Also, those who grew up with Thums Up don’t know anything that goes better with run, especially the Old Monk variety.
Thums Up came on the scenes after Coca-Cola had to leave India when the Janata Party government came to power. It’s signature red thumbs up logo left an indelible impression on the generations that came in next because of its unique, and strong, taste. Even when PepsiCo fizzed onto the Indian market after liberalisation in the form of Lehar Pepsi and when Gold Spot fizzled out under the pressure of Fanta, Thums Up held on.
Over the years it did manage to broad-base itself from the “manly” drink branding to being more mass. As this happened its slogans moved from “Happy days are here again” of the 1980s to “I want My Thunder,” and finally “Taste the thunder!”
From top cricketers like Sunil Gavaskar, Sandeep Patil and Ravi Shastri in the early 1980s to actors like Mahesh Babu, Akshay Kumar and Salman Khan, Thums Up has managed to rope in men who aligned with the macho nature of the drink.
Now as it completes four decades and closes in on becoming the first home-grown billion-dollar beverage brand, the company has announced the launch of Thums Up ‘Charged’, a new variant with some extra thunder.
Here’s a glance of ad campaigns that show how India’s strongest cola has evolved over the years.
The Sporty Side (1982)
The Manly Makeover (1996)
Taste The Thunder (2007)
Kuch Toofani Kiya? (2012)
Main Hoon Toofani (2016)
Don’t these ads bring the nostalgia of the Thums Up campaigns? Share your thoughts in the comments below.