Coca-Cola was the 1st international soft drinks brand to enter India in early 1970’s. Re-entry of Coca-Cola in 1993
On the 26th of October 1993, Coca-Cola re-entered the Indian market having acquired some of the leading Indian soft drink brands from Parle, namely Thums-Up, Maaza, Limca, Goldspot & Citra. These brands joined Coke’s portfolio of international brands i.e. Coca-Cola, Sprite, Fanta, Schweppes as Coca-Cola India took control of the top soft drink brands in India from the very beginning. From 1993 to 2003, company invested US $ 1 billion in India.
The beginning of Cola War
For the Cricket World Cup 1996, Pepsi was not the official sponsor of the tournament, Coke was. But Pepsi had a whole pool of best players roped in as brand ambassadors from the sub continent and abroad. The ad campaign of “Nothing Official About it” rocked the country and despite Coke being the official sponsor, it was Pepsi which hogged the publicity.
In 1998, with the release of blockbuster movie “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai”, Pepsi took out another ace from its sleeve, featuring Shahrukh, Rani and Kajol in its ad. The punch line was “Yeh Dil Maange More” which was an iconic line and struck a chord amongst the people.
Coca-Cola countered by spoofing the ad, using Sprite, to hilarious effect. Pepsi responded with a spoof of its own, starring Azhar and Jadeja hitting on the Coke line of “Eat Cricket, Sleep Cricket, Drink Only Coca Cola” with the punch line of “More More Cricket, More More Pepsi”. Coke again hit back, this time with Thumbs Up ad. They portrayed the cricketers as monkeys and ended the ad with “Don’t be a bunder (monkey) Taste the Thunder!” Situation turned ugly with Pepsi going to court and finally ended with Coke withdrawing the ad.
The Cola wars went on full-fledged till 2003, when a pesticide controversy forced Coke and Pepsi to fight on the same side in so called “India's New Cola Wars”.