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Thums Up evolves from reel-world to real-world heroism with its Olympics campaign

The soft drinks brand, which has always been known for its celebrity endorsements and its brand ambassadors’ heroic stunts, whether it was Salman Khan, Mahesh Babu, or Ranveer Singh, through this campaign is celebrating the Indian Olympic athletes who have overcome several odds to reach where they are today. Speaking to, Arnab Roy, Vice-President, Marketing, Coca-Cola India and Southwest Asia also shared his views on the ongoing Ronaldo controversy

Recently Coca-Cola led to quite a stir in the industry after Portugal football captain Cristiano Ronaldo removed two of their bottles out of the camera view and encouraged people to drink water instead. Some reports suggested the move had wiped off $4 billion from Coca-Cola’s market value. After the incident, many experts suggested it is not a good idea for carbonated drinks brands, which are known to be unhealthy, to associate with sports. 

Arnab Roy

Sharing his views, Arnab Roy, Vice-President, Marketing, Coca-Cola India and Southwest Asia, said, “The Coca-Cola Company has a long history of sponsoring major sporting events, organisations, and projects around the world. Through its eight-decade association, it is the longest continuous corporate partner of the Olympic Games. Other sporting partnerships include four decades with FIFA and nearly 25 years with World Cup Rugby. These long associations with sporting events underscore the company’s philosophy of endeavouring to be a part of their consumers’ lives and their passions. We believe everyone is entitled to their drink preferences as people have different tastes and needs. Players are offered water, alongside a choice beverage, during events and press conferences to cater to a variety of ‘tastes and needs’.”

Thums Up to launch 360-degree marketing campaign around India’s 100th year of participation at Olympic Games

With their latest campaign ‘Toofan wahi jo sab #PalatDe’, Thums Up has evolved its brand position from ‘machismo’ to ‘heroism’. Through this campaign, the soft drinks brand, which has always been known for its celebrity endorsements and its brand ambassadors’ heroic stunts, whether it was Salman Khan, Mahesh Babu, or Ranveer Singh, is celebrating the Indian Olympic athletes who have overcome several odds to reach where they are today. 

Speaking to, Roy said, “Strength, resilience, and heroism have always been at the core of the brand. Just that, now, we are evolving from reel-world heroism to real-world heroism. We believe the time is now for this – India needs to celebrate its real heroes more than ever before, given all the challenges the country has been through in the last 18 months. Real heroes have emerged through this time and the values of resilience, grit, and determination have helped push us through. The association with the Indian athletes gives us a tremendous opportunity to tell their story – a story of strength, grit, determination and resilience, which is at the core of our brand. As we move forward, we will continue to build this narrative and identify and represent such stories,” he said.

In India’s 100th year of participation at the Olympic Games, Thums Up is associating for the first time with the global sporting event through its partnership with the Tokyo Olympics 2020. Roy said Thums Up is the right brand to associate with the event this year. 

“Olympics 2020 are very special for India as it is our 100th year in the games. The Olympic Games stand for courage, strength and resilience of the human spirit. Thums Up, one of India’s largest beverage brands, deeply shares these values. It is known for its strong taste and its values of celebrating heroism making it a natural choice for this association,” he said.

Also read: Thums Up salutes real heroes of Olympics as India enters its 100th year of participation at Games

As part of their strategic partnership with the event, they will unveil a 360-degree marketing campaign, entailing a series of video content along with marketing stories for digital and social media. This includes multiple multimedia activations across traditional and digital media for amplification during the months of July and August, in the key markets of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Karnataka and Orissa, among others.

“The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 gives us a tremendous opportunity to tell the story of resilience that we see among Indian athletes. The Coca-Cola Company is the oldest standing partner of the Olympic Games since 1928 and has helped to celebrate its core values such as respect, courage, determination, inspiration, and equality. In this particular year in India, the need to portray these values has never been more important — real people, who overcame tremendous odds to become real heroes to represent the tricolour at Tokyo 2020. The association signals a step in a new direction for the brand as it celebrates and salutes the resilience of real heroes of life,” he said. 

The newly released campaign film, conceptualised by Ogilvy, features the stories of Olympians Bajrang Punia (wrestler), Manu Bhaker (shooter), Vikas Krishna Yadav (boxer), Deepika Kumari (archery), Atanu Das (archery) and the Indian shooting team.

The brand portrays the upside-down Thums Up bottle as a visual symbol that celebrates determination, strength, and the fierce challenger spirit. But it is not limited to the Olympics athletes, but extends to the entire nation. Every bottle in the hand of every consumer is now also their voice to 'Palat De' all the naysayers who say they can't or shouldn't do it. 

The uplifting tone of the campaign reflects empathy and solidarity towards the athletes' struggles. This complements Thums Up’s brand message of resilience and real heroism of everyday people and makes it relatable and emotional. However, it also marks a defined shift from its regular campaigns of action-packed scenes.  

“At Coca-Cola, we want to bring consumers the brands and choice of drinks they love, to refresh them in body and spirit. Our communication has always been around recognising real moments from consumer lives and narrating their stories across all our brands. Thums Up is no exception. In line with the evolving consumer sentiment, the brand is also evolving. We are focusing on telling real-life stories that inspire. Hence, with this association with the Games, the focus is sharply on our athletes who have overcome many odds and risen above hurdles to represent India at a global event of this stature,” Roy said.

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