NEW DELHI: Asia's richest man, Mukesh Ambani, has announced plans to relaunch an iconic beverage brand Campa Cola- the 1970s soda brand that once rivaled Coca-Cola and Pepsi, prompting a wave of nostalgia on social media among the millions of Indians who grew up drinking the beverage.
Ambani's Reliance Group said this week it would reintroduce Campa Cola to India's multibillion-dollar non-alcoholic drinks market this summer in three flavors: cola, lemon, and orange, according to business reports.
In anticipation of a price- war, Coca-Cola has reduced the prices of some of its lowest stock-keeping units in key states. The price cut comes at a time when demand for cold beverages increases as temperatures start to soar
Reliance now hopes older family members will “cherish the nostalgia” while younger ones will love the “crisp refreshing taste.” What was once packaged as nationalism is being repackaged as nostalgia.
The brand filled a void in the country at a time when its more famous American rival Coca-Cola was not available, and the news of its return has prompted a flurry of interest from middle-aged Indians who remember drinking it in their youth.
While Coca-Cola was introduced in India in the 1950s it withdrew from the market just over two decades later when the government introduced a regulation that would have required it to reveal its formula.
In its absence, Pure Drinks- the company which bottled Coca- Cola- came up with an Indian alternative Campa Cola, which became immensely popular and soon grew to lead the country's soft drink market.
Like its American rival its popularity was fueled by catchy advertising campaigns that appealed to Indian youth. Bollywood actor Salman Khan appeared in one of its more famous television campaigns while its print advertisements were known for their pop-art illustrations and bold colors. It also had a punchy tag line, with a hint of an appeal to patriotism: "The Great Indian Taste."
However, its popularity began to fizzle during the 1990s when India's then Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao and his Finance Minister Manmohan Singh opened the country to foreign investment. Foreign cola brands made a comeback, with Coca-Cola returning in 1993 and Pepsi and Fanta also becoming popular. Campa Cola gradually disappeared from stalls and shelves across the country.
With its new acquisition, Reliance appears to be hoping to appeal both to those Indians nostalgic for the brand and to introduce the cola to a younger crowd who might not remember its previous incarnation.
"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," a company spokesperson said.
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