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April 18, 2014

A little too late - Ramesh Chauhan!

The Indian Press is agog with the news that Ramesh Chauhan the creator of soft drink brands like Thums Up, Limca and Gold spot will is back in action. And Ramesh Chauhan is banking on doing what he knows best – creating powerful long lasting brands that cock a snook at the global market leaders.
But is Ramesh Chauchan too late?  It is like shutting the stable after the horse has bolted. The biggest mistake that Ramesh Chauchan did in 1993 was to hive off Thums Up to Coke and that at a ridiculously low price of 40 crores.
The following are the reasons why I think Café Cuba (the new caffeinated cola from Parle) will not cut the ice with the customers.
The name is not very attractive. Café Cuba. It makes no sense at all. Why Café and why Cuba. And to think that Parle created iconic brand names like Thums Up, Gold Spot, and Limca ( still very ever green).
The American Cola giants are well entrenched and have strong brands. They do not have any unguarded flanks.
Let’s remember that Pepsi’s Atom and Pepsi AM a caffeinated cola drink did not do well.
Cola is a product category that is popular among the young people and I think that Coffee flavor or caffeinated cola will appeal to this demographic.
Things have changed and the present customers have no emotional connect with either Ramesh Chauhan or with the Brand Parle. It is just another company for them.
And the worst Café Cuba will have to compete with Thums Up and the loyal Thums Up customers may not easily move to a new brand.

Summers always bring the best out of the Cola giants and this summer will not be any different. Watch out for the sizzling hot action in the 30,000 to 35,000 crore chilled Indian cola market. Cafe Cuba expects to garner Rs 1,000 crore sale. May the best brand/s win!

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