NEW DELHI: Soft drinks giants in India are targeting major events in the next few months as the most important time of the year for the sector approaches.

Pepsi has invested heavily in the Indian Premier League and is reported to be unhappy that at least part of the cricket tournament is being shifted abroad amid security concerns as it clashes with the upcoming national parliamentary election.

The company would have expected to achieve widespread distribution of their products in and around those stadia where matches were being held.

Despite that, it is optimistic it can repeat the success it achieved last year. "We expect to get 10 times the derived media value for our investment this year irrespective of where the tournament is held," a PepsiCo spokesperson said.

Rival Coca-Cola appears to be turning its gaze on the upcoming national election, utilising a planned sampling and distribution drive. "For beverage companies, festivals are a great way to push sales," said Venkatesh Kini, head of Coca-Cola India. "And, it doesn't get any bigger than the festival of democracy," he added.

An example of his thinking is the redirection of "Happiness On the Go" vehicles, originally designed to tour rural areas getting new consumers to sample the brand at a low price point of Rs 5.

"These can be sent to political rallies, melas or any large gatherings at very short notice," Kini told the Economic Times.

He also highlighted another innovation aimed at encouraging sales in rural areas: a water cooler-like dispenser into which a two litre bottle can be placed to enable a retailer to offer chilled servings in smaller sizes of 100-150 millilitres.

Coca-Cola's push beyond metropolitan areas has been given added impetus with its latest campaign which uses Bollywood actors in small-town situations using colloquial language.

Data sourced from Economic Times, Afaqs!; additional content by Warc staff