Benita Chacko

Thums Up brings in Shah Rukh Khan to position itself as more than a soft drink

Conceptualised by Ogilvy, the new campaign is in line with the brand’s previous association with cricketer Jasprit Bumrah.

Thums Up, Coca-Cola India’s homegrown brand, has partnered with Shah Rukh Khan, to present the #ThumsUpStrong platform. In the new campaign, the brand also asserts its strong flavours and positions itself as more than a soft drink.

Conceptualised by Ogilvy, the new campaign is in line with the brand’s previous association with cricketer Jasprit Bumrah. Just like that campaign, here the core message is that Thums Up is not just a soft drink, but a ‘toofan’.

With Shah Rukh Khan coming on board, the cola category has seen a peculiar role reversal. Shah Rukh, who was the face of rival brand Pepsi, is now endorsing Thums Up. While Thums Up’s long-time ambassador Salman Khan is now endorsing Pepsi.

Thums Up is known for its strong taste and its advertising has always reflected the adventurous spirit and strength of the drinker’s personality. In the new campaign, Khan asserts ‘Soft Drink Nahin, Toofan’ as he implores the audiences to stay resilient and strong in pursuit of their dreams.

The toofan association is not exactly new because the tagline 'Aaj kuch toofani karte hain' has been a staple of Thums Up ads for over eight years. Last year, during the Paralympic Games, the brand had adopted ‘Toofan wahi jo sab #PalatDe’. Before that were campaigns like ‘Toofani Iraadey’, ‘Main Hoon Toofani’, ‘Doosra Toofan shuru’ and the most popular ‘Aaj kuch toofani karte hain’ campaigns.

However this campaign is quite reminiscent of the brand’s campaigns from its early years, like the 'Grow Up to Thums Up' campaign, that focussed on the cold drink’s strong flavours. The brand established itself as a more ‘manly’ drink due to its basic product characteristics- greater fizziness and less sweet. The current campaign once again brings the spotlight on these features while stressing that Thums Up is more than a soft drink.

Celebrating the key milestone of becoming a one-billion-dollar brand, Thums Up launches the new campaign that builds on its distinctive strong taste that is loved by drinkers since inception. Last year, Thums Up partnered with the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games saluting the spirit of real heroes who stay true to their determination to achieve their dreams and challenge every odd that life throws at them. Teaming up with King Khan, the brand amplifies this core value and adds an action-packed cinematic storytelling with SRK portraying both reel and real-life hero in the ad-film.

After many years, Khan is seen in his imitable action-hero avatar, performing stunts on top of a train. The stunts end with whistling in the theatre hall and Khan inverting the Thums Up bottle, a symbol of the brand’s ‘Palat De’ campaign from last year.

Sumeli Chatterjee, Head - Integrated Marketing Experiences (IMX), Coca-Cola India & Southwest Asia said, “Thums Up is a 45-year young brand that has always inspired millions to stay committed to their dreams. When we launched #PalatDe last year, the upside-down bottle of Thums Up became symbolic of the #PalatDe spirit - turning down every naysayer who cast a doubt on your ability. Building on this platform, we are thrilled to team up with Mr. Shah Rukh Khan to tell the story of the #ThumsUpStrong spirit. The strong unique taste of the brand is naturally weaved into strength as an emotion, that urges the drinkers to stay strong and believe in their dreams.”

Ritu Sharda, chief creative officer, Ogilvy India (North) said, “Thums Up is not a soft drink, its toofaan. And as Thums Up moves out from the soft drink category to a category of its own, we partnered with the biggest toofan to talk about this move. With signature toofani stunts and thrills, this is SRK on a train but like never before.”

Sukesh Nayak, chief creative officer, Ogilvy India says, “A toofaan is stirred when the King of Bollywood joins hands with the ‘Soft drink nahi, toofaan’ called Thums Up. We are very thrilled to have SRK as our partner, on this exciting journey of reinventing this iconic brand.”

Shah Rukh Khan said, “I am exhilarated to be representing India’s most iconic brand – Thums Up, as it resonates perfectly with my perspective of never giving up, irrespective of the many challenges life may throw at us. It is this attitude which transforms each one of us into a hero in our own fields. This campaign is truly special for me, as it gave me the chance to perform some really cool stunts and action sequences which I thoroughly enjoyed.”

The campaign will be live via an integrated campaign across TV, social, digital, shopper and OOH.

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