Inca Kola vs Coca Cola : The Beginning
Many stories have been told about the rivalry between Inca Kola and Coca Cola. There are many different versions which have been said about the decision of selling our brand to a foreign company. There are many opposing opinions around this topic. But we wouldn´t expect less than this taking into account that Inca Kola has been the most representative drink of our Peruvian people.
We would like to know more about the story behind this titanic struggle between Inca Kola and Coca Cola. When and How did it start? Which event did it influence Family Lindley so they finally decided to sell the brand to a giant transnational company?
We had a lot of questions and we could only know them if we got to learn it from the real story of this representative drink.
That story took back its beginnings at the end of the 1800´s when an English immigrant family called The Lindleys arrived at Callao Port. This family had a business experience on beers in their home country so they decided to turn into the pioneers of soft drinks in Peru and founded what it was later called Santa Rosa beverages Company (a way to honor Santa Rosa de Lima)
How was Inca Kola born and how did it start its rivalry against Coca Cola?
Lindley S.A Coorporation had devoted itself to the selling of soft drinks of different flavors for about 25 years. But in 1935, it decided to launch a drink that turned the company into a market leader as well as it did take this brand to a level that went over their competitors.
They were looking for a unique flavor, color and smell product. A product that it also identifies itself with the culture and customs of Peruvian people. They were looking for an agreement between people and product. That is how Inca Kola was born.
The name of Inca Kola represents the millenarian culture of Peru, the Inca Empire. Its golden color highlights the richness of its flavor and the gold of Inca people. The formula has been tried to be plagiarized several times by many competitors. But all of them have failed in their tries.
This is why, the Inca Kola President says: “The flavor of Inca Kola is unique, nobody knows exactly what it really tastes (chamomile, banana, lemon, ginger, etc) but the whole country does really love it”.
When did Coca Cola appear?
Although we think it is incredible, the arrival of Coca Cola at Perú has just happened a year after the birth of Inca Kola. How you would have realized, this struggle started when Inca Kola was no longer positioned at 100% on the minds of Peruvian people as their national drink.
The giant transnational arrived at Peru with the intention of conquering the whole Peruvian market. For them, it was not a challenge to go over other brands easily. It was just a matter of time.
However, they found this company that had worked really hard to be on top. It did have its clear objectives to launch Inca Kola as the drink of Peruvian people. They never thought to compete on prices with Coca Cola. The strategy was to make Peruvians defend what it belonged to them. Their history, culture and drink.
These two brands have been fighting against each other constantly. Inca Kola used the TV as its first marketing weapon to deepen into Peruvian people that sense of nationalism. They showed the main characters of the television drinking Inca Kola by that time. It also called on people to defend their national products.
They thought in closing the company and quit everything they have worked for many times. This was because of many economic problems that the company struggled. It was a fight between David and Goliath. However, they decided to fight until the end of all this. They struggled against the huge pockets of their competitor.
By the 80´s Inca Kola was the leader of the 30% of Peruvian market. While Coca Cola had only the 21 % of this market. This phenomenon impacted the world in such a way that Harvard University took this event as an example of brand marketing leadership and positioning. Inca Kola has been the only brand that hasn´t been defeated by Coca Cola around the world.
When did Inca Kola decide to sell its brand?
By the beginnings of the 90´s and after 3 consecutive years in which Inca Kola, as it was used to happen, went over Coca Cola´s sales considerably. The executive staff of Coca Cola sitting in their offices in Atlanta decided to buy that brand as their last try to control Peruvian market.
This is how and after 3 long years of negotiation and due to the terrible economic situation of Peru by those times, Inca Kola decided to sell 50% of its shares. This was done once it was agreed between the two brands that the giant transnational company will expand the marketing of Inca Kola to other markets and that Lindley Corporation will manage the production and marketing of Inca Kola in Peru and of all products associated to the Coca Cola company.
Johnny Lindley, the President of Lindley Cooporation in Peru says that Inca Kola is and has been the representative drink of all Peruvian people. Their formula and presentation has been improved over the years. The logo of this drink has changed and now bears a map of Peru and a more authentic design.
Nowadays, Inca Kola has 27% of sales in the Peruvian market while Coca Cola shares 24%.
Peruvian people have found ourselves abroad always recalling their favorite food along with a glass of Inca Kola. We always remember to drink an Inca Kola can along with a good chancay [a type of Peruvian bread] or simply listening to that advertising on the radio when we were on our way to the beach.
We remember those TV advertising and songs that make us go back in history to experience those happy times of our childhood.
Inca Kola is and will be our Best National Drink for life.
What do you think about this story? Do you think Inca Kola will always be the most representative drink of Peru? Please leave your comments ….. we would like to know your opinion regarding this topic
TV commercial from the 80’s
TV commercial featuring Tulio Loza one of the more recognized Peruvian TV icons of those times