Point of view: A taste of nostalgia

Anvar Alikhan

The Indian soft drinks market has been estimated at Rs 650 billion per year, growing at 25-30%. The category is dominated by heavyweights like Coca-Cola, but one of the most exciting brands is Paper Boat, which offers a range of ethnic Indian flavours, like aam panna (green mango) and jaljeera (cumin seed). Paper Boat was launched in 2013 by a team of former Coke executives. Their game plan was to market an energy drink named Tzinga, but that strategy got overturned over lunch one hot summer's day while the founders were sipping chilled aam panna juice made by somebody's mother. The idea that hit them was, 'Why the heck has nobody ever launched this as a packaged drink?'

Paper Boat articulated its brand strategy in just two words: 'authentic' and 'alive'. And the company has followed this strategy in everything it does. The authenticity factor led to the vision of recreating a whole range of traditional drinks from recipes sourced from family homes, bazaars and temples. And it also led to the brand's theme line of 'Drinks and memories', connecting consumers with their childhood and a time of mythical innocence (hence the name Paper Boat). The alive factor ensured that this nostalgia is always presented in a cool, youthful, contemporary fashion, and supported with innovation in everything from its packaging to its distribution strategies.