In 2005, soft drinks major Limca switched from its age-old thirst premise (pyaas) to that of freshness (taazgi). What followed was a series of commercials with visual mnemonics of slices and splashes galore, including the famous haseen lamho ko chura lo track. But industry watchers felt that as 'freshness' could be a rather generic positioning plank in the soft drinks category, it may not have worked as well for Limca as the brand might have hoped for. In 2012, Limca reverted to its 'thirst' roots although with a twist, in the pyaas badhao campaign, roping in actor Kareena Kapoor as its endorser. The fresh ho jao premise was replaced with an emotional undertone of being thirsty not just for the drink, but also for achievements in life. Now, it appears, even that layered positioning - with the undercurrent of achievement - really doesn't cut it for Limca. "It is best for Limca to do what it does best," quips a brand consultant. And so, with its current campaign (Limca wali pyaas) created by Leo Burnett India, that emotional undercurrent has been shown the door, and the brand is back to marketing itself on a purely functional plank - as something that quenches your thirst. Limca has been around since 1971, and in these last 44 years, the one thing that has remained constant is its 'lime-n-lemoni' credentials. "The brand has the advantage of a rich heritage; it very strongly anchored on a thirst premise since the beginning, with 'lime-n-lemoni' serving as the attribute that establishes it as a thirst-quencher," explains Debabrata Mukherjee, vice-president, marketing and commercial, Coca-Cola India and South West Asia. The brief to Leo Burnett was to establish Limca as the ultimate thirst quencher - people should think of Limca whenever they are thirsty. The commercial has a lady ordering her son - the protagonist - to quickly fetch tasty dishes which her daughter will then pretend to have prepared herself for a prospective groom and his family, who were supposed to drop by.
Once he gets home after an exhausting run from shop to shop, he satisfies his thirst with Limca. "When faced with situations of extreme heat and fatigue, nothing quenches your thirst like Limca," says Amit Nandwani, executive creative director, Leo Burnett India. "This commercial essentially conveys this point while integrating quirks rooted in Indian culture. The plot is not only relatable but also drives home the point in a light-hearted manner." Besides television, the other media vehicles employed by the campaign include print, radio, outdoor and digital (primarily, YouTube and Facebook). "Often, digital campaigns don't talk to the mother campaign that is on-air. This time, we're trying to make sure that there is a direct connection," says Mukherjee. The attempt is to create a variation of the exaggerated slice-of-life TVC on digital, where Limca will soon ask consumers to share their extreme moments of thirst with the question: in what situation did you really feel the need for that ultimate thirst quencher? "We will crowdsource the situations digitally, and the top four or five panic-thirst situations could potentially be turned into a series of digital films, or possibly even a TVC," says Mukherjee. In that sense, the digital campaign plays off the TV campaign. However, the aim is to harness the power of a crowdsourced idea, and not really have a typical contest. The ad spent on the campaign are in line with last year's spends, and industry watchers peg these at Rs 35-40 crore. It is interesting to note that yet another lemon-based drink, Sprite - also from the Coca-Cola stable - has played a few knocks with the 'thirst' positioning itself; first with the bujhaaye only pyaas, baaki sab bakwaas series, and then clear hai. With Limca returning to thirst, are the lines between Limca and Sprite blurring? "Sprite operates from an emotional space. When you say bujhaaye only pyaas or clear hai you're talking of clarity in the product and clarity of mind that a refreshing swig of the product gives you," says Mukherjee. "Clarity is a good convergence of emotional and physical, with more weight given to emotional rather than physical thirst. Limca is firmly anchored on physical thirst." Then where does that leave other lemonade-based packaged drinks, which again rely on either freshness of taste, thirst-quenching abilities or a blurry mix of the two? "The advantage of a brand like Limca is that it rides on its heritage power," Mukherjee asserts. "Brand differentiation is what separates the product from the brand, and thus establishes it as the man among the boys." Brand:: Limca Agency: Leo Burnett India Budget: Rs 35-40 cr