Yash Bhatia

Lahori Zeera fizzes up its pan-India presence with maiden campaign

Saurabh Munjal, CEO and co-founder, Archian Foods on the objective behind the campaign - conceptualised by ad agency Enormous, competitive landscape, revenue model and more.

Desi-flavoured fizzy-drink brand Lahori Zeera waited seven years to make its big advertising splash. Archian Foods, the parent company of Lahori Zeera, took its time to build its brand in Punjab until 2022, this was followed by a phase of expansion into other Northern and Western states. Finally, in 2024, the brand that has earned wide popularity in Punjab and its neighbouring states is ready to go beyond just word-of-mouth for marketing. 

The company has launched its debut campaign Har Koi Peera, Lahori Zeera. The campaign marks a significant milestone, as the company sets its sights on nationwide expansion.  

Saurabh Munjal, co-founder and CEO, Archian Foods, says “We started with just one state (Punjab) in the first five years. Now we have plans to expand to 10 other states. The focus is not just on selling products, but to create an aspirational brand.”

The brand has built distribution strength in North India in states such as Punjab, Haryana, Delhi NCR, West UP, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and parts of Uttarakhand and Rajasthan. 

In 2017, the company was started by three cousins Saurabh Munjal, Saurabh Bhutna and Nikhil Doda. A 160ml bottle of Lahori Zeera is priced at Rs 10. The company operates in the fizzy-drink market that is dominated by international behemoths like Coca-Cola and Pepsi and local players like Parle Agro. 

Currently, the company is not targeting the South Indian market. "South India is a huge market. It represents a sizable market which we can’t cater to due to the lack of a production plant in that region," he adds.

The company aims to cross a gross revenue of Rs 500 crore in the short-term. In January 2022, the brand also secured funding of around Rs 110 crore from a global family backed evergreen investment company Verlinvest.

Har Koi Peera, Lahori Zeera

The ad campaign shines a spotlight on the product, through a dialogue-free narrative, on a rhythmic and repetitive beat. 

In the 60-second spot conceptualised by Enormous, and directed by Early Man Film, individuals from diverse professions seamlessly integrate sipping Lahori Zeera into their daily routine.

Munjal states that the brand’s approach was intended to be unique right from its inception. He adds that the company couldn’t sign any celebrities, as the top players in the category had already roped in all the faces. “We aimed for our idea to be the hero”, he says. 

For the initial five years, the brand operated with zero cumulative marketing expenditure, primarily due to resource limitations. 

Campaign objective

With the launch of this inaugural campaign, the brand projects a stature that rivals global brands and embodies the essence of a well-established brand.

Also, Munjal and the team were looking for an idea that could cater to all age groups. After a year and a half of countless pitches from leading ad agencies, the brand struck upon this concept with Ashish Khazanchi’s Enormous. 

The campaign’s objective stemmed from the observation that while consumers were buying the product, they lacked a sense of pride attached to it. 

The name of the brand, being non-descriptive, posed a challenge in developing recognition for Lahori Zeera. The brand wanted a traditional name and contemplated between using Amritsar and Lahore, both known for tasty food. 

Amritsar seemed lengthy, and the use of pink salt, known as Lahori, was used in all the formulations of desi fizzy drinks. That’s where the name Lahori Zeera was born.

“With this campaign, we want to attach an aspirational value to the drink. Remember, the name is not self-descriptive as one can’t make out this is a fizzy-drink just from the name. So the first intent is to build awareness, and the second was to build aspiration,” he states. 

Lahori Zeera strategy
Lahori Zeera strategy

The brand has a diversified product portfolio with flavours like Lahori Nimboo, Lahori Shikanji, Lahori Imli Banta, Lahori Kacchha Aam, and Lahori Gimbo. 

However, the campaign is focused only on Lahori Zeera, as it contributes 90% of overall revenue. Secondly, it has been in high demand for the past six years. Lastly, jeera as a flavour also enjoys universal appeal.

To take the brand to all the 17 states the brand has chosen to advertise mainly on television, news channels in particular to leverage the media extravaganza that is the Lok Sabha elections. 

Television commands over 50% of the total marketing budget.

Following television, the focus shifts to in-shop branding and dealer boards, with digital ranking third in expenditure. Cab branding and billboards represent the fourth tier of expenditure. 

The brand has not appointed any media buying agency and is communicating directly with all the media companies. 

In addition to the pan-India launch campaign, the brand is also co-presenting sponsor of a weekend show "Madness Machayenge - India Ko Hasayenge," on SonyTV with standup comedian Harsh Gujaral.

Future strategies

As the company aims to expand pan-India, the company is launching new flavours based on market research and consumer preferences. 

The homegrown-desi drink brand is incorporating the popular carbonated cola and black salt concoction into its portfolio by launching Masala Cola.

The other launch is Minty Lemon, an offering inspired by the classic Mojito.

Channel-wise revenue and competitive landscape

General trade and traditional trade channels collectively account for approximately 99% of revenue, modern trade for less than 1%, and quick-commerce is less than 0.1%.

In the competitive landscape, the brand believes in the direct competition from industry giants. “Our products stand for ethnic desi flavours, which none of these brands caters to,” Munjal mentions. 

Secondly, the desi drink brand competes with any player offering a drink at a similar price point. Lastly, it also views regional players selling similar flavours to its rivals.

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