Due to the recent wave of boycotts sweeping the world, Pakistanis have also turned towards local alternatives for a variety of products, including cold drinks. This shift towards supporting local businesses is undoubtedly positive. However, a peculiar trend can be observed in the beverage aisles: local brands seem to have a ‘flavour’ for international mimicry, and it’s not just about the taste!

This observation led me to an intriguing thought: Pakistani beverage brands might be playing the game of ‘copycat’ with their international counterparts.

Firstly, let’s address the elephant in the room. Pakistan, a land rich in culture and tradition, seems to experience a bit of an identity crisis when it comes to its local cuisine. Much like the beloved biryani, which has its roots spread across various cultures, the beverage industry too seems to have imported a taste for imitation.

Color and Design Code?

One might ask why these companies keep the same look and feel of the bottle. It’s all about the Fizz and the buzz! A green bottle with a swirly font immediately brings to mind the zesty lemon-lime drink. And a red can with prominent white lettering? That’s right, the classic cola. It’s a game of colour psychology with a hint of nostalgia.

These names are clearly inspired by the iconic branding of Coca-Cola and 7UP. ‘UP’ and ‘Cola’ are the preferred suffixes for most local beverage brands. It’s as if adding ‘UP’ to the name boosts the drink, both metaphorically and literally. And ‘Cola’? It’s a global name for dark carbonated beverages. I get that the recipe includes Coca leaves and Kola nuts, but does that mean every other black drink will be called some-cola?

Hypocrisy Reigns

So, why the imitation? Perhaps it’s a combination of familiarity fostering contentment and fear of the unknown. After all, why take the risk of trying something new when you can continue with what works? This creates a fascinating paradox, if Pakistani companies are so prone to mimicking the appearance and names of international brands, why do they proudly claim their Pakistani identity? Isn’t it hypocritical to capitalise on the names and identities of non-Pakistani companies while claiming to promote local businesses?

The answer to this question might remain elusive, but it’s a fascinating aspect of the Pakistani beverage industry that deserves attention. On one hand, these brands want us to support local, but on the other, they are blatantly copying the look and feel of these already established brands for leverage.

Quit drinking cold drinks – Promote your local vendors and drink fresh juices!