Monday, December 04, 2006

Calendar keeps Kingfisher cool

Foster’s India was sponsoring the visiting Australian cricket team, and TBWA India, the then agency, was briefed on all requirements for the tour. These included a name (the winner was "The Wizards of Oz"), all clothing for the tour (including T-Shirts, Shirts, Caps, shorts, kit bags, track suits) and signage and point of purchase odds and ends, a range of merchandise for consumers, and the branding for the various launch parties and for bars and restaurants.
At the party revealing the “Wizards of Oz”, Ponting and team mingled with the glitterati, the who’s who of Mumbai.
Who proceeded to steal the signage.
And Foster’s management was ecstatic.
That, then, was the ultimate certificate to TBWA for a job well done.
Dealers called to report PoP stolen, and all but begged Foster’s sales and marketing team for replacements. And each time a dealer called, he was asking for a favour, getting closer to Foster’s and getting that one inch further away from Kingfisher.
Who ruled the beer industry then.
And who rules the beer industry now.
Their signage and branding might not get stolen, but Kingfisher’s calendar is one that many a beer guzzler would give an arm (not the drinking one) and a leg for.

The calendar costs a bomb to produce, shot as it is by Atul Kasbekar, featuring the top models and set at exotic locales.
It’s worth all the money. Every single newspaper worth the newsprint covers the launch each year; every single TV channel gives us consumers “exclusive” bits and bites. And Kingfisher (mineral water, not beer) is rejuvenated every December. I’d be more than interested in knowing the delivery by PR that Kingfisher gets on this single activity year on year, and I’ll be surprised if it’s not increasing geometrically.
The wonderful thing is, a calendar is not rocket science. Tens of thousands of firms will commission calendars this year, and Sivakasi will do no printing other than calendars for the next month or so.
Most will find their way to walls in garages and store rooms. Some will simply find their way to the waste paper basket.
Because none of the firms will commit to a calendar as a brand building tool as Kingfisher and Vijay Mallya are doing. It is not just "something to keep the customer happy". For Mallya, the calendar is the focus of his brand building for the year, and an exercise that helps keeps his beer most thrilling.

I don’t have a Kingfisher calendar. I'm in the majority.
I still drink Foster’s. I'm in the minority.
Kingfisher photo courtesy: Reuters

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