Popular cola campaign fizzles out as shops in Bhopal prefer to sell traditional drinks | bhopal | Hindustan Times
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Popular cola campaign fizzles out as shops in Bhopal prefer to sell traditional drinks

As summer arrived, umpteen shops offering traditional Indian cold drinks cropped up by the roadside in the city and made a brisk business despite a challenge from a US-based soft drink giant.

bhopal Updated: Jun 05, 2015 19:28 IST
Ashutosh Shukla
A-Coca-Cola-dispenser-unit-lies-unused-at-a-milk-parlour-in-Bhopal-on-Thursday-Mujeeb-Faruqui-HT-photo
A-Coca-Cola-dispenser-unit-lies-unused-at-a-milk-parlour-in-Bhopal-on-Thursday-Mujeeb-Faruqui-HT-photo

As summer arrived, umpteen shops offering traditional Indian cold drinks cropped up by the roadside in Bhopal and made a brisk business despite a challenge from a US-based soft drink giant.

The Coca Cola had launched a Refresh Raho under which 100 ml of soft drink could have been obtained from a vending machine for just Rs 5.

But, the campaign failed to cut much ice with the people despite extreme heat during this summer.

A Coca Cola executive said preference for Indian drinks over aerated drinks was natural, particularly when you have a choice.

Subhash, a youth gulping ‘aam ka pana’ at a shop in MP Nagar, said: “Have you seen the size of their disposable glass, it’s even smaller than a tea glass. When you want to have something to cool yourself, you need at least a full glass of that stuff.”

A middle-aged man, Rakesh Mishra, said, “In the era when use of artificial flavours, colour agents, preservatives, chemicals and other stuff in packaged juices and drinks are common, a glass of ‘jaljeera’ or ‘aam ka panna’ prepared in front of you is not only reassuring but also a healthier and fresh drink to keep you cool in summer heat.”

But, not all the people are reassured about hygienic conditions on these make-shift shops set up on handcarts.

“It doesn’t matter to them if a sewage line was just behind them. Flies, insects can be seen all over their shop. I don’t know how people take drink prepared there,” said Pratibha Sharma, a housewife in TT Nagar.

Some of the restaurant owners or others on contract by the cold drinks company suggested it was a marketing strategy of the firm.

Rajeev Soni, who owns an eatery on Kolar Road, “I had got the machine installed. But, it was not worth it. Why should a shopkeeper care to promote the campaign for Rs 15 per day.”

Regional head of Coca Cola based at Bhopal, DS Lamba, said the pan-India campaign got lukewarm response at some places.