Ready for a nostalgia trip? Come Diwali, all 80s and 90s kids are bound to relive their childhood as Reliance Industries is all set to buy the Campa Cola brand for a rumoured Rs 22 crore and relaunch it.
Mukesh Ambani’s decision has been greeted as a triumph of nostalgia marketing. It gives Reliance’s fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) portfolio a brand with strong recognition, if mostly among a slightly ageing demographic. And it’s got considerable media publicity, possibly because many, including journalists and editors are in that demographic.
Reliance Retail Ventures, the retail arm of billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance group, has already introduced its three variants, including its iconic cola flavour, orange and lemon at its selected stores. At present, Campa is bottled by Jallan Food products.
The Indian soft drink market is dominated by the American cola majors — Coca-Cola India and PepsiCo. The acquisition is part of Reliance’s plan to enter into the fast-moving consumer goods sector.
Earlier this week, addressing the shareholders in the annual general meeting, Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd (RRVL) director Isha Ambani said the company will launch its FMCG goods business.
As part of its expansion drive in the FMCG segment, Reliance is already in talks with several makers, which would be announced subsequently once the deals are finalized.
The Indian FMCG market is estimated to be over $100 billion and is largely dominated by big firms such as HUL, Reckitt, P&G, Nestle and home-grown companies like Dabur, Emami and Marico.
Reliance will now compete with the leading company Adani Wilmar and other FMCG companies in this segment. Campa Cola is a drink created by the Pure Drinks Group in the 1970s.
Pure Drinks Group introduced Coca-Cola into India in 1949 and was the sole manufacturer and distributor of Coca-Cola till 1977 when Coke was asked to leave.
After that, the brand dominated the Indian market for the next 15 years in the absence of foreign competition. The brand’s slogan was “The Great Indian Taste”, an appeal to nationalism.
After the return of foreign corporations to the soft drink market in the 1990s, the popularity of Campa Cola declined and its operations were scaled down as it could not sustain the competition.
In 2000–2001, its bottling plant and offices in Delhi were closed. In 2009, a small amount of product was still being bottled in Haryana but the drink was hard to find.