This IPL, Coca-Cola Takes on Pepsi from Out­side the Venue

The Economic Times - - Business Of Brands - RATNA BHUSHAN

A part of the cola war this sum­mer sea­son is be­ing waged out­side sta­di­ums hold­ing In­dian Pre­mier League matches across the coun­try where arch-ri­vals Coca-Cola and Pep­siCo are ag­gres­sively sell­ing their drinks to cricket fans.

As bev­er­age spon­sor of all IPL teams, Pep­siCo has rights to serve its drinks in all sta­di­ums. And while the Board of Con­trol for Cricket in In­dia has im­ple­mented wa­ter­tight anti-am­bush mea­sures in­side sta­di­ums to pro­tect its spon­sors, out­side it’s free for all. Be­sides sell­ing its reg­u­lar drinks out­side IPL sta­di­ums across the coun­try, Coca-Cola is also sam­pling its new low-cost mo­bile vend­ing ma­chines, which dis­pense drinks in cups at .` 5, out­side Ahmed­abad and a few other sta­di­ums.

“In keep­ing with our strat­egy of mak­ing more and more con­sumers sam­ple our prod­ucts, we lever­age con­gre­ga­tions and meet­ings. Cricket tour­na­ments are a good op­tion as are fes­ti­vals, ru­ral haats and bazaars,” a Co­caCola spokesper­son said.

Pep­siCo, how­ever, said it was pre­pared for Coca-Cola’s ag­gres­sion out­side the sta­di­ums and coun­tered it ef­fec- tively. “The fact that we were able to not only an­tic­i­pate our com­peti­tor’s moves but also counter them ef­fec­tively, en­sured that there was no am­bush what­so­ever,” a Pep­siCo In­dia spokesper­son said. Com­pany of­fi­cials said pro­mot­ers, face painters and tshirt and flag sell­ers in Pepsi t-shirts, and mov­able branded sign boards on routes leading up to sta­dium gates, park­ing and en­try gates helped the firm thwart any at­tempts by com­pe­ti­tion to am­bush the IPL in­side or out­side. Be­sides set­ting up kiosks, the two cola ri­vals have de­ployed sales­per­sons sell­ing drinks in­di­vid­u­ally. Last year too, Coca-Cola had sam­pled 400-ml packs for just .` 10, while Pep­siCo had dis­trib­uted its new launch — Pepsi Atom — free out­side sta­di­ums. Though the num­ber of people go­ing to watch IPL matches in sta­di­ums are mi­nus­cule, it’s still a cap­tive set of con­sumers, par­tic­u­larly in the peak sea­son for bev­er­ages.

Pep­siCo, be­ing the bev­er­age spon­sor, has rights to serve drinks in sta­di­ums

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