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Parle Products ups digital spends to 15% after a tweet compels it to re-launch Rola Cola

Parle Products is all set to re-launch Rola Cola after 13 years with Twitteratis resurrecting demand for the product. With an aim to make it Rs 50-crore brand in next six months, the brand is purely going digital for marketing. BK Rao of Parle Products shares with the brand’s comeback story

It all started in February 2019 when a random tweet urged a forgotten brand to revive and make a comeback to the market after being discontinued in 2006 for stunted growth.

Rola Cola, the hard boiled candy from Parle Products, is all set to be more appealing this time with more vibrant colours, but with the same savoury taste, for GenZ and millennials.


Aiming to become a Rs 50-crore brand in six months and Rs 100 crore in the next 12 months, Rola Cola is expected to add 5% to Parle’s overall market share in the confectionery market.

Earlier, the brand had no plans to re-launch the brand. Public demand over social media has now changed Parle Products’s perspective towards digital media communication strategies.

BK Rao

In an interaction with, BK Rao, Sr. Category Head of Marketing at Parle Products, shared how and why the communication around the re-launch has been 100% digital. He explained how re-entering the market can be challenging because of high expectations from old and new customers alike.

“The way the whole thing shaped up for Rola Cola made us realise that we can bring a brand though social media. Currently, whenever there is a launch, there is a TVC, radio, outdoor and digital. But now there is a possibility that we can launch a new product for a certain audience over social media. It has changed the overall perspective of Parle Products for other launches as well. And with this, our digital spends will grow from 12% to 15%,” said Rao.

Since the whole buzz around Rola Cola came out of social media, the brand feels it is important to give enough and more importance to the social and digital and thus would be promoting the brand only via digital. Parle Products asked for 10K re-tweets to get Rola Cola back for users but garnered more than 50K re-tweets for #BringBackRolaCola.

“To bring excitement and newness, we are launching a campaign on how Rola Cola has been feeling homesick and now has decided to return much stronger, taller and sharper. We would be spending 100% on digital medium and have decided to expand this brand through digital only,” he said. The brand is working with Please See, a creative agency.

While it is sheer coincidence that the re-launch is happening in the festive season, Rao said there won’t be any specific expectation in terms of sales. However, in the next six months it plans to become a Rs 50-crore brand and targets Rs 100 crore in 12 months.”

“The confectionary category somewhere is around Rs 10,000 crore overall, out of which candy roughly contributes to actually Rs 3,000 crore with a 30% share in the market. And we already have a strong 20-21% share in the confectionery market and looking at adding Rs 50 crore this year and Rs 100 crore in 12 months. That means 2-5% would be added to the overall 30% market share we have,” said Rao.

The category is growing at a healthy rate of about 15-16% annually. The brand is also growing at the same pace and looking at slightly exceeding the category growth, gaining market share in the next six months. Manufacturing began in mid-September and the brand till now had sold about 20-25 tonnes.

The brand had to shut down production of Rola Cola in 2006 because of low growth that yielded no revenue in the domestic market. However, production remained active in the international market where growth was good. The re-launch won’t impact its international consumption, he said.

Started as a substitute to Coca Cola in a candy format and at a lesser price, for Parle Products, the journey of Rola Cola has been unique. Explaining how the brand will ensure the growth trajectory this time, Rao said, “We have suffered every stage of evolution and we made sure that we design and do product formulation accordingly this time, without changing the taste as old consumers would be disappointed or might feel cheated. However, it will be more vibrant in terms of colours and fresher. And for the modern retailers, the brand has also added a Rs 20-pack of Rola Cola apart from the Rs 5-pack.”

Rao said nostalgia does not always work and since the end consumers of the brand has now majorly shifted to GenZ and millennials, it is trying to keep it extremely meaningful and appealing for them.

“Nostalgia would never help a brand to re-enter a market. It can be a connecting point. Millennials or GenZ are going to be my regular customers and they haven’t tasted it and they are the ones who would take this journey forward. But it becomes more challenging as there would be high expectations from the old customers as well. So we need to appeal the both,” he added.

Crediting Twitter for the re-launch of Rola Cola, Rao said consumers today have a voice for the brands and influence them majorly. They can make or break a brand through this medium, which earlier was missing.

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