The thunder is going abroad. Coca-Cola, which acquired home-grown cola brand Thums Up from Ramesh Chauhan in 1994, has launched it in UAE. "We have always known Thums Up's strength and have retained its positioning as a beverage for young male adults who prefer the strong taste. We realise that many Indians seek its taste across geographies and keeping this in mind, we have recently launched Thums Up in the UAE," says Venkatesh Kini, VP (Marketing), Coca-Cola India. Thums Up, incidentally, remains the top-selling cola brand in India's Rs 6,000-crore sparkling beverages market, despite the millions of dollars that Coke and Pepsi have spent on their flagship brands over the last decade. Kini denies suggestions that Coke has neglected Thums Up, pointing out that the company had signed on Bollywood action star Akshay Khanna as its brand ambassador.
Of course, considering that 40 per cent of UAE residents are Indians, the launch is a bit of no-brainer. But now, Coca-Cola is also considering introducing it in other markets with significant concentrations of Indians. "We will certainly not ignore a critical mass of customers anywhere, but it has to be a large enough number for it to be viable for us," says Kini.
Thums Up is the first home-grown food and beverages brand being taken abroad by a multinational. But this is only an extension of a still emerging trend of MNCs taking brand they have developed in India abroad.
Frito Lay India, PepsiCo's snackfood subsidiary, has soft-launched Kurkure, the crunchy spicy snack it developed in India, in the US market, where it is being sold as an Indian snack. It also plans to launch it in South Africa and Australia. And McDonald's has launched McAloo Tikki Burger, a burger made with a potato cake and Pizza McPuff, both developed in India, in West Asia.