Aiming at a larger pie of the brown spirit dominated Indian liquor market, Shaw Wallace & Company (SWC) is foraying into the fastest-growing liquor segment with its latest brand-extension – Black Mischief Rum. Cashing in on the huge demand for dark rum, the company has lined up a promotion strategy that aims to associate the brand with youth and the local culture and tradition of target markets.
“The rum segment has always suffered from a lack of imagery and this is how we have planned the positioning of Black Mischief,” said SWC joint president Deepak Chaudhury, who was in Kolkata late last week to formally launch the rum brand. The group is targeting the younger dark rum drinkers. “We carried out extensive research to understand the psyche of our target group,” he added.
Alongside launching the brand, the company also rolled out a new series of TV campaigns for the brand – ‘Dare to live the Black Mischief life’. “The brand stands for youth who are aspirational, contemporary and adventurous,” said Mathew Xavier, Assistant Vice-president, Shaw Wallace.
At the moment, SWC is focusing on the markets of the entire East including the North-east, followed by South (with a major thrust on Kerala). Understanding the consumer category, the group is planning to promote the brand by associating with local events and festivals. “We are more focused on below-the-line activities and outdoor media instead of going heavily in print and electronic media,” said Neeraj Sharma, DGM, Marketing, SWC, while sharing the promotional plans with exchange4media.
In Kolkata, Black Mischief has already sponsored a number of events like Spiderman 2 – a contest for the youth carried out in different hangouts across the city. To tap the quintessential epicurean culture of Kolkata, the brand had recently hosted the Hilsa Festival on a river cruise. “We have plans to get associated with ‘para’ football (street football), which is a major local event in Kolkata and ‘Yatra’ (folk drama) festivals as these are very popular,” Sharma said. The liquor major has adopted similar initiatives in the markets of Kerala, Maharashtra and Karnataka and, there would be similar plans for Assam and the North-east as well.
For the record, McDowell’s, the market leader in the same category from the UB Group stable, has been involved with Kolkata soccer for several years. The brand is the official sponsor of Mohun Bagan Athletic Club.
However, dwelling on their marketing plans, the SWC top brass emphasised more on the unique selling proposition of the product – the Guala Cap. “There’s no rum brand with a tamper-proof guala cap, which is exclusive for premium whisky and vodka bottles,” claimed Chaudhury.
The rum category constitutes nearly one-third of the Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) market. With this foray into the rum segment, SWC is planning to strengthen its position vis-à-vis McDowell’s. The group is not looking at volume shares, rather it is concentrating on value share. “We are aiming to garner 10 to 12 per cent of the total marketshare within the running financial year,” said Chaudhury. With the foray into the dark rum segment, SWC claimed to have gone a step ahead towards emerging as the top alcoholic beverages manufacturing group by its projected timeframe of 2007-08.
Introduction of Black Mischief is the third extension of the Mischief umbrella brand that boasts of the leading vodka brand White Mischief and a brandy with the same label. The White Mischief Vodka enjoys 35 per cent share of the market and, according to Chaudhury, it is growing at a whopping 50 per cent annual rate.