Could Kik Cola do well against Coke and Pepsi in Sri Lanka?

Bill Bruce28 Jan 2011

At the beginning of December, Sri Lanka-based Elephant House, a subsidiary of John Keells Holdings, introduced Kik Cola. By the middle of January, it was claiming sales of over a million litres and 60% market coverage of Sri Lanka’s retail channel.

“We are happy to say the consumers have embraced this brand,” said Jit Gunaratna, JKH president – consumer foods.

Kik Cola is marketed with youth in mind, and emphasis is on it being 'a truly Sri Lankan cola drink'. The advertising hoarding proclaims: ‘Lankan to the last drop’.

“This product is unlike any other," said Chandima Perera, Elephant House head of beverages. "This isn't a cheaper alternative, and Kik Cola conforms to international standards and quality."

Elephant House is one of Sri Lanka's strongest brands and a household name for over 100 years, and with a well established distribution network. Kik Cola joins a successful soft drinks portfolio including:

  • necto
  • lemonade
  • apple soda
  • cream soda
  • ginger ale
  • wild elephant.

“With a distribution network of over 90,000 outlets that cover almost every inch of this island, we're confident that Kik Cola will be available for our consumers at every possible consumption opportunity that one can think of,” said Gunaratna.  

What is Kik Cola up against?

Sri Lankans consume an estimated 62m litres of carbonated drinks per year, with Coca-Cola controlled brands accounting for almost half those sales. PepsiCo is planning to relaunch its operations in Sri Lanka in the near future, and with Coca-Cola fighting back, it will be interesting to see who will be the eventual champion in the billion rupee battle of colas.

Does Kik Cola ring any bells?

For those who think they’ve heard of Kik Cola before, you’re right and you have a good memory. Variously tagged as ‘Canada’s own cola’ and ‘the cola for families’, Kik Cola dates back to the North American cola boom times of the 1930s and was bottled across Canada with many distributors until the late 1960s. It featured labels in English and French.