If you are here, you are definitely aware of the revival of the long-forgotten Indian carbonated drink brand ‘Campa Cola’ by Reliance industries in a new avatar.
And if you’re in your 20s, you might be wondering “What’s Campa Cola?”. Go ping your parents with this question and you will get the answer along with a dose of nostalgia.
Campa Cola was an immensely popular soft drink brand during the 70s and 80s with its memorable brand slogan ‘The Great Indian Taste’ embodying a message of nationalism.
According to Statista, the non-alcoholic drinks market in India is expected to grow by 5.17% annually, with revenues of $16.74 billion in 2023 and reaching $38 billion by 2027.
Pretty big numbers, right?
Well, Reliance’s top management shares the thought that’s why they have recognized the potential of the Indian non-alcoholic beverage sector and decided to tap into this market with a previously known Indian brand that just needed an economic boost.
Reliance embodies a fierce competitive spirit and creates monopolies as it did with its initial loss-leading strategy in the telecom arena. So, it would be interesting to see how they will shake the beverage industry upside down in the same manner.
In this blog, we will take you on an insightful journey into Campa Cola’s history, Reliance’s goals with it, and its future.
Let’s dive into it …..
Journey of Campa Cola
The journey starts way back in 1949, when India was just free from colonial rule and people were struggling with poor finances.
Coca-cola made an entrance and began a successful free run of soft drink business in the tropical subcontinent. This continued for over two decades till 1977, and the brand made a significant profit during this period.
The Pure Drinks Group, which later started ‘Campa Cola’, was its Indian subsidiary that held the responsibility of manufacturing and distributing Coca-Cola in India at that time.
Exit of Coca-cola & Entry of Campa cola
However, in 1977 Indian government introduced the foreign exchange and regulation act which implies foreign companies dilute their 60% share to an Indian company and also share their critical technical information.
This compelled Coca-Cola to dilute its equity stake, forcing it to hand over control to its Indian subsidiary and reveal its “secret formula”.
So, guess what?
Coke choose to leave instead, creating a void in the soft drink market of the country.
Seizing the opportunity, Pure Drinks launched its own fizzy beverage ‘Campa Cola’ to fill the gap. At the same time, the government rolled out its own label called ‘Double Seven’ but as with many government initiatives, it fell short of meeting consumers’ demands.
Meanwhile, Campa Cola along with three Parle brands- Thums Up, Goldspot and Limca capitalized on the opportunity and became the dominant players in India’s soft drink market for the next 15 years due to the absence of foreign competitors.
Effect of Liberalisation policy
This success of Campa’s didn’t last long.
It came to a halt when the Indian government under the leadership of P. V. Narasimha Rao introduced a liberalization policy in 1991. As part of this policy, restrictions on foreign companies were loosened.
Coca-Cola and Pepsi quickly took advantage of this new opportunity, and they swooped in to conquer the Indian soft drink industry. With their immense financial resources and extensive experience in the industry, Coca-Cola and Pepsi were able to quickly gain a foothold in the Indian market and rapidly expand their operations.
Campa Cola was not able to withstand the competition and eventually shuttered its Delhi bottling plant in 2000 and 2001, closing its offices soon after.
However, in 2022, Campa Cola was acquired by Reliance Industries for ₹22 crores. Reliance Retail Ventures also launched three variants of the drink, including cola, orange, and lemon, marking the return of the beloved Campa Cola to the Indian soft drink market.
Isha Ambani, director at Reliance Retail Ventures, announced at the company’s annual general meeting, “The objective of this business is to develop and deliver high quality, affordable products, which solve every Indian’s daily needs.“
As Tata is among the major competitor of reliance in the retail store chains in India. So, if you want to know more about Tata, read our blog: Top companies owned by Tata
Why did Campa Cola fail?
While foreign brands dominated the Indian market, Campa failed to keep up with their aggressive marketing strategies which was a significant factor in its downfall. However, this was not the sole reason for their disappearance from the market.
One contributing factor was that consumers viewed it as an “imitation brand” of Coca-Cola, as the name itself seemed like a copycat. When foreign brands returned to the market, people preferred them over Campa Cola.
Another reason cited by consumers at the time was that the drink’s taste did not match up to its predecessor’s quality. “Campa tasted good – because we didn’t have any other options,” The New York Times quoted in their 2009 article about the brand.
Reliance Benefit of Acquiring Campa Cola
Reliance high table has shown its strategic thinking by recognizing the immense potential of the Indian non-alcoholic beverage market.
Bringing back a well-known brand like Campa will save costs in upfront marketing, and brand recognition will draw attention in a highly competitive marketplace.
The established reach of Reliance in the Indian market will provide a significant boost for Campa Cola. Additionally, their category-killing pricing strategy, which has already been demonstrated in the telecom arena, is likely to be highly effective for Campa as well.
Future of Campa Cola with Reliance
The revival of Campa Cola by Reliance could be a revolutionary moment in the history of the cold drink industry in India.
Similar to the telecom industry in 2015-16, prices were high before the entry of Reliance Jio in the market. Later on, prices became more affordable resulting in a digital boom in India and bringing India among the top 5 countries with the lowest mobile data prices.
We can expect a similar trend to occur in the cold drink sector with Reliance’s entry. The company has announced that the brand will be made available first in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and then rolled out across the country in stages.
Currently, Campa Cola is available in five-pack sizes ranging from 200 to 2,000 ml, and the Campa portfolio will initially include Campa Cola, Campa Lemon, and Campa Orange in the sparkling beverage category.
Reliance’s incredible reach in the Indian retail market via Jio Mart, which has numerous stores throughout the country, it would be interesting to see how the Campa cola competitors deal with it.
It’s no doubt that in the upcoming summer, Campa Cola will provide stiff competition to legacy brands like Pepsi and Coca-Cola.
Market competition and challenges
According to Statista, the major competitors for Campa Cola based on sales are:
- Maaza (Coca-Cola)
- Sprite (Coca-Cola)
- Slice (PepsiCo)
- Thums Up (Coca-Cola)
This data indicates that Coke’s subsidiary brands are currently the biggest competition for Campa Cola in the market.
So, one of the biggest challenges for Campa Cola will be to uproot the market monopoly of Coke’s brand and reclaim its brand awareness among consumers in India. However, a mild influence can already be seen in the market, as Coke cuts the price of its 200 ml bottle by Rs 5.
Currently, Coca-Cola’s entry-level pack is priced at Rs 20 for a 250 ml bottle, while Campa Cola’s 200 ml bottle is priced at only Rs 10. Additionally, Coke’s 2L bottle is priced at Rs 95, while Campa Cola’s 2L bottle is priced at just Rs. 49.
This clearly shows how Reliance is planning to portray Campa cola in the market and lure consumers with its low prices strategy.
If you are interested in more business strategies which proved profitable then read our blog on: Meesho Business Model 2023
Who is Campa Cola owner?
Reliance Group is the current owner of Camap Cola, who acquired the soft drink brand from Pure Dinks Group at Rs 22 crores.
What is Campa Cola share price?
Campa Cola is currently a private unlisted company and is classified as a ‘company limited by shares.’
What is the price of Campa Cola?
2 L bottle of Campa Cola cost Rs. 49 in JioMart while its other sizes prices are yet to be available online.