Thums Up Charged: Does It Really Pack More Thunder?

Animesh Das, December 21, 2017

How does the new spot for Thums Up Charged compare to spots from the brand's 40 year old history?

Last month, Coca-Cola India turned the spotlight back on to its crown jewel, the just-turned-40-year-old cola brand, Thums Up.

In a press release, Coca-Cola announced its intent to make Thums Up the first home-grown billion dollar beverage brand by 2020. It also announced the arrival of a new variant, ‘Thums Up Charged’, a first for the brand. And that variant, “is packed with even more thunder.”

“Thums Up believes in a unique expression of masculinity that challenges us to believe that ‘heroism is a choice.’” said, Vijay Parasuraman, Vice President, Marketing, Coca-Cola India & South West Asia. He added, “By personifying this, the brand has become a metaphor for uncompromising attitude and unshakeable self-belief which inspires each of us to unleash our inner potential. This belief is crucial to Thums Up as it enables the brand to inspire millions of Indians and make them look up to Thums Up as an icon of masculinity. The launch of Thums Up Charged takes this iconicity to the next level and will help accelerate the journey to becoming the first home-grown billion dollar beverage brand.”

A month later, we’re finally beginning to see what “Thums Up Charged” is all about. Hoardings have begun to appear in key cities, the official social media handles have begun posting content, and a new ad film has just been released, on Coca-Cola’s global YouTube channel, no less.

Ranveer Singh also stars in the Hindi-Dub version of the film, and actor Mahesh Babu stars in the Tamil-Dub version.

The film does all the right things, no doubt. NASCAR races always lend themselves to fast-paced, brimming-with-action cinematography, and narratives that call for heroic feats. Ranveer Singh and Mahesh Babu look strong, and fully embody the role of a Thums Up ambassador. The near two minute production establishes the new variant, and ends with new taglines, “Never Give Up Ever” and “Take Charge”.

And yet, for some reason, the film leaves one feeling like a can of Thums Up (well, any carbonated beverage, really) that’s been lying open for over an hour – flat.

Why’s that? Well, the 40 year old Thums Up cinematic universe has already seen various death defying stunts, and some of them really pushed the bar for ‘adrenaline-pumping action’. Jet Skis in 1977! Bungee Jumping in 1996, followed by Heli Jumping in 1997! Conquering Mt Everest in 2005, celebrating and introducing Indians to the urban-sport of Parkour in 2007. Cliff jumping, free-falling, jet-packs, street driving, biking, it’s all been done!

Thums Up’s “Toofani Action”

So the heroics in this film, in 2017, doesn’t really make your jaws drop! Indian consumers have been exposed to similar feats through movies (“Gone In 60 Seconds”, “Driven”, “Rush”, and even “Ta Ra Rum Pum” and “Dhoom”) and advertising in the past.

Mind you, this isn’t really a dig at the brand, or the film, but if Coca-Cola India is positioning the new variant as being “packed with even more thunder”, then one is warranted to expect a story that really ups the ante.

Fans of the brand would love for Thums Up to define what it stands for, and climb the stairs of success Coca-Cola has set the brand on. But the brand shouldn’t dilute its image.

P.S. Are we being too harsh? Don’t we ‘get’ the new communication? Please do leave comments and let us know!