Coca-Cola India said it is making record investments in terms of advertising spends in the second half of the calendar year, on the back of the ICC World Cup as well as festival season. The beverage major is betting big on the consumption boost during this period, especially after the industry saw a challenging time this summer season due to unseasonal rains.

“The ICC World Cup is happening in India after 12 years. It is a big platform for us, not just for our classic brand marketing investments, but also for investments on shopper and trade marketing. The brand activations for festivals have also started in a big way with Ganpati in Maharashtra followed by Durga Puja and Diwali,” said Arnab Roy, Vice-President, Marketing Coca-Cola India and South-West Asia.

“This is going to result in one of the largest marketing investments we have ever done in Q3 and Q4 combined in the history of our company in India. Not just in terms of the absolute amount of money we are putting in, but also in terms of the percentage [of ad spends’ that we are investing in the second half is going to be one of the highest ever,” he added.

The beverage major is spending big bucks on Thums Up, Sprite, and Limca Sportz to leverage on the World Cup buzz, while brand Coca-Cola is leading its festival campaigns. The company said that the marketing spends made in the December quarter will be 5-7 per cent higher than last year.

Talking about expectations from the festival season, he said: “Festivals are low-barrier moments for spending, and we expect consumers will be more than willing to spend more money across categories. Based on the trends that we have seen in Q3 and beginning of Q4, we feel very positive and encouraged with the way this year will end.”

short-term demand

He added that the company is hopeful that the investments on the ICC World Cup will also result in good short-term demand. The company is looking to grow household penetration with large packs during the festival season while affordability remains an important part of its pack strategy. “The ₹10 and ₹20 price points will continue to be very important even in year 2024. At the same time, we have been expanding our returnable glass bottles business in most parts of India. We are focussing on ensuring that we are able to provide affordability while also being able to meet our operating income targets,” he added.

Roy agreed that the FMCG industry has seen challenges when it comes to rural demand, but added that the company continues to sharply focus on execution of its plans in rural regions. “The festival season is one time when consumers tend to open their purse strings across urban and rural region .Our focus is on leveraging on that through locally relevant activations. We are seeing improved momentum. In the long term, we expect India to continue to be among the high growth markets for the next 5-10 years,” he added.