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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Brand idea failures: Oranjolt

The drink that lost its cool

Rasna Limited is one of the leading soft drinks companies in India, and made its name in the concentrate market. However, when it has tried to stray from its specialized niche, it hasn’t had much success. When Rasna experimented with a fizzy fruit drink called Oranjolt, the brand bombed even before it could take off. Oranjolt was a fruit drink in which carbonation was used as a preservative. ‘It was never meant to be a fizzy drink,’ says Rasna’s founder Piraz Khambatta. He explained that given the threat of foreign competition it was important to try out new things. ‘If you don’t try new initiatives, you are stuck,’ he says. So why did it fail? Because it was out of sync with retail practices.

To last, Oranjolt needed to be refrigerated. The problem was that Indian retailers tend to switch off their shop refrigerators at night. As a result, Oranjolt faced quality problems. The product has a shelf life of three to four weeks where other soft drinks were assured a shelf life of over five months. Servicing outlets was also a problem. ‘We didn’t have a distribution structure that could allow us to replace the product every three to four weeks,’ admits Khambatta. Even Coke and Pepsi make replacements only once in three months. Oranjolt was therefore launched in select outlets and could not expand rapidly.

That was the only effort by Rasna Limited to try its hand beyond its breadand- butter segment where it still enjoys over 80 per cent of the concentrated soft drink market share. ‘Now we are trying to reinvent the category and expand it,’ says Khambatta. ‘And we want to be one up over our competition on all parameters.’

Lesson from Oranjolt

  • Cover all bases. Rasna failed to anticipate the quality problems it faced as a result of retail practices.

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