Coca-Cola increases advertising spending in India

NEW DELHI :Coca-Cola India on Friday said it has allocated record marketing budget for Thums-Up, Coca-Cola and Sprite for the September and December quarters, leveraging its global partnership with the International Cricket Council (ICC), to intensify promotional efforts for the current quarter Men’s World Cup as well as the festive season.

The move follows a weak performance from drinks makers over the summer.

In 2019, ICC and Coca-Cola signed a five-year global agreement that named the American beverage company’s brands as exclusive non-alcoholic beverage partners for all ICC events worldwide until 2023.

The World Cup promotions will be led by Thums Up, the best-selling brand in its India portfolio, while its flagship Coca-Cola will focus more on campaigns for the festive season. “It is also investing in promoting Sprite for the ongoing cricket tournament,” said Arnab Roy, vice president of marketing, Coca-Cola India and Southwest Asia.

“We have activated the ICC World Cup with the Thums Up brand along with the recently tested Limca Sportz. All activities related to the festivals also started in a big way in Maharashtra, followed by Durga Puja in West Bengal. We also did some very interesting things around Diwali, although in a somewhat limited form as the World Cup is also taking place there… This will result in one of the largest (marketing) investments we have made in the third and fourth quarters combined “Remember the history of our company in India,” Roy said during a virtual media roundtable.

While most companies increase their spending leading up to the holidays, beverage companies typically increase their advertising spending during the peak summer months. However, summer sales of cold drinks have been “challenging” as unseasonal rains this year hit demand for the drinks.

Roy acknowledged a difficult summer but said the company had not cut advertising and promotional spending.

“We had invested a lot in the summer and during the IPL. “We have not reduced our investments because we always work with very long-term planning cycles,” he added.

India hosts the World Cup after 12 years, coinciding with the celebrations which typically see a surge in demand across all categories.

This increases the company’s advertising expenditure.

However, this did not stop the company from increasing its advertising during the World Cup. In fact, the beverage maker’s ad spend rose 5-7% in the December quarter compared to a year ago.

“We have been working with bottling partners on ICC plans for a year. As our bottling partners made investments, we needed to ensure that our marketing investments did not decline. I would say that the fourth quarter expenditure as a percentage of total expenditure in a year was almost 5-7% higher than a normal year,” Roy added.

Meanwhile, commenting on demand, Roy said although inflationary pressures remain high, affordability will continue to play an important role in the company’s growth over the next few months.

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