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Thums Up is a brand of cola in India.[2] The logo is a red thumbs up. It was introduced in 1977 to offset the withdrawal of The Coca-Cola Company from India. The brand was later bought by Coca-Cola who re-launched it in order to compete against Pepsi.

Thums Up
The Thums Up logo
Type Cola
Manufacturer The Coca-Cola Company
Country of origin India
Introduced 1977[1]
Related products Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Campa Cola

As of February 2012, Thums Up is the leader in the cola segment in India, commanding approximately 42% market share and an overall 15% market share in the Indian aerated waters market.[3]



In 1977, American cola giant Coca-Cola abandoned operations in India rather than accept a forced sale of 60% of their equity to an Indian company.[4] Following this, the Parle brothers, Ramesh Chauhan and Prakash Chauhan, along with then CEO Bhanu Vakil, launched Thums Up as their flagship drink, adding to their portfolio of older brands Limca (lime flavour) and Gold Spot (orange flavour).

Thums Up enjoyed a near monopoly, overshadowing domestic rivals such as Campa Cola, Double Seven, Dukes and United Breweries Group's McDowell's Crush, although many small players sold well in their own markets.[citation needed]

It was one of the major advertisers throughout the 1980s. In the mid 1980s it faced short-lived competition from Double Cola.[citation needed]

In 1991, when the Indian government opened the market to multinationals, Pepsi was the first to enter. Thums Up and Pepsi subsequently engaged in heavy competition for endorsements. Pepsi spokespersons included major Indian film stars such as Juhi Chawla, while Thums Up increased its spending on cricket sponsorship. Thums Up also introduced a larger 300 ml bottle, branded "MahaCola" (meaning "great [in size] cola"; the original size was 250 ml. This nickname gained popularity in smaller towns where people would ask for "Maha Cola" instead of Thums Up.

In 1993 Coca-Cola re-entered India after a prolonged absence, spurring a three-way Cola War with Thums Up and Pepsi. The same year, Parle sold out to Coke for US$60,000,000. Thums Up had an 85% market share when sold.[3]


Despite its strong overall equity, the brand was losing its popularity among the core cola drinking age group of 12- to 25-year-olds, partly due to a lack of advertising.

At first, Coca-Cola cut advertising and production for Thums Up to drive customers to their flagship brand,[5] but soon realised that Thums Up customers would turn to Pepsi instead of Coke, were Thums Up withdrawn from the market. Instead, Coke decided to use Thums Up as a rival brand to Pepsi. The Coca-Cola Company by this time had about 60.5% share of the Indian soft-drink market but found out that if it took out Thums Up, it would remain with only 28.7% of the market (according to a report by NGO Finance & Trade in India), hence Thums Up re-launched, targeting 30- to 40-year-olds.

The brand was re-positioned as a “manly” drink, drawing on its strong taste qualities.[6] Thums Up started an advertising campaign directly attacking Pepsi’s television commercials, focusing on the strength of the drink hoping that the depiction of an “adult” drink would appeal to young consumers. “Grow up to Thums Up” was a successful campaign. The brand’s market share and equity increased.[7]

Other campaigns from Thums Up build on its “strength” and its perception as a macho drink.[8]

In February 2012, popular South Indian actor Mahesh Babu became a spokesperson for Thums Up.[9] In October 2012, Coca-Cola India signed Salman Khan once again as the brand ambassador of Thums Up. The company has also tied with Salman Khan's movie Dabangg 2 and his charitable organisation as part of the deal.


According to Coca-Cola's Indian website, Thums Up contains: carbonated water, sugar, acidity regulator (E338), caffeine, natural colour (150d) and added flavours ("natural, nature identical and artificial flavouring substances").[1]

Logo and marketingEdit

A can and glass of Thums Up

The Thums Up logo was a red "Thumbs Up" hand gesture with a slanted white sans-serif typeface. This would later be modified by Coca-Cola with blue strokes and a more modern-looking typeface.

The famous slogan until the early 1980s was "Happy days are here again", coined by copywriter, Vasant Kumar. The slogan later became "I want My Thunder", and subsequently "Taste the thunder!"

Product placement in films was used in the 1980s with Thums Up appearing in the background of many Hindi films.[5]



Thums Up was a major sponsor of cricket matches and also had a notable presence at the Sharjah cricket matches. In the early 1980s, it came out with several postcards featuring Sunil Gavaskar and Imran Khan.

Indian motorsportsEdit

Besides cricket, Parle’s southern bottler was a major sponsor of Indian motorsport in the 1980s. In addition to sponsoring several Indian track drivers in Sholavaram races, they sponsored several regional car and bike rallies. They were also associated for several seasons with the Lakshmi Mills Super Speeds team.

Celebrity endorsementsEdit

Post 1990s, Thums Up's celebrity endorsers were Chiranjeevi, Mahesh Babu from South India and Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar from Bollywood.[10][11]

Awards and recognitionEdit

According to the Brand Trust Report 2012 published by Trust Research Advisory, a brand analytics company, Thums Up was positioned 140th among India's most trusted brands. Subsequently, in Brand Trust Report 2013, Thums Up was ranked 170th among the most trusted brands in India while according to the Brand Trust Report 2014, Thums Up was elevated to the 66th position among India's most trusted brands.[12]

In popular cultureEdit

A peak in the Manmad Hills has become popularly known as the "Thums Up Mountain" or the "Thums Up Pahaar" (in Hindi), because it has a natural top like the "Thums Up" logo and is a popular sight from trains.

Thums Up appears in the book Eat, Pray, Love and its film adaptation.[13]


  1. ^ a b "Thumb Up". Coca-Cola India. Retrieved 16 April 2012. 
  2. ^ Ratna Bhushan, ET Bureau (2010-01-08). "Coke India's new Thums Up ad most expensive ever". The Economic Times. Retrieved 2010-09-18. 
  3. ^ a b "Will Coke's 200ml pack price cut cannibalise Thums Up?". The Economic Times. 29 February 2012. Retrieved 1 March 2012. 
  4. ^ Albaum. G and Duerr. E. (2008). International Marketing & Export Management (6th ed.). Pearson. p. 265. 
  5. ^ a b Radhakrishnan-Swami, Meenakshi (July 6, 2013). "Thumbs Up, Forever". Outlook Business. 
  6. ^ Shamni Pande (2009-05-18). "The brand that refused to die". Business Today. Retrieved 2010-09-18. 
  7. ^ Bob Page. "How Thums Up became the ruling cola of India". The Mercury Brief. Retrieved 2010-09-18. 
  8. ^ "Thums Up- Case Studies - Ormax". Retrieved 2010-09-18. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ Page, Bob (October 18, 2009). "How Thums Up became the ruling cola of India". The Mercury Brief. 
  11. ^ Menon, Sangeeta. "Coca-Cola India hikes Thums Up ad spend, signs on Chiranjeevi". Rediff. NetScribes. 
  12. ^ "India's Most Trusted Brands". 
  13. ^ Righthand, Jess (August 19, 2010). "A Culinary Tour of "Eat Pray Love"". Smithsonian.