Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Brand Update : Thums Up in a Celebrity Trap


Thums Up which is one of the most resilient brands in the Indian market was in the news recently when the parent Coca-Cola decided to drop Salman Khan as the brand ambassador. ( source). The reports also suggest that the brand is in talks with actor Ranveer Singh
to replace the Khan. That points  to a celebrity trap which this brand has fallen into.
It is true that Thums Up has always been promoted using a celebrity, be it Akshay Kumar or Salman Khan, but the fact is that Thums Up has moved into a position where it cannot think of a promotional strategy sans a celebrity. That is why the news report announcing  Salman's exit also suggest the search for new celebrity.

Soft drink brands are always after celebrity as if there is no existence without a famous personality endorsing it. While there are a lot of advantages of using a celebrity, the fact remains that slowly but surely, the brand and the brand manager loses confidence to go without the support of celebrity. 
It is sad to see the same thing happening for Thums Up. The brand doesn't need a celebrity. In the brand's early years, the equity of the brand was built  from within. Now the brand is trying to find a celebrity so that it can depend on the celebrity for equity which, at least theoretically, is bad for the brand. Thums Up has the innate strength which made it overcome the existential crisis when the owners decided to kill it. That strength was not from any celebrity endorsement but the image of a rough resilient brand. Coca-Cola should at least try making the brand stand on its own rather than going the easy way out.