The Kingfisher Swimsuit Calendar is proving to be a hot property for brand Kingfisher, winning two FAB Awards in a row. This is the one property that has made the beaches of Mauritius and Phuket (Thailand), and the game reserves of South Africa to play host to Indian models. On the calendar working for the brand, Shekar Ramamurthy, Executive Vice-President, Sales and Marketing, United Breweries Limited, said, “Firstly Kingfisher is a lifestyle product. At all points in time, we are looking at ideas, which will strengthen the brand. There are a lot of calendars but this is a premium lifestyle statement.”
The property has reached out to many homes, Indian and others, through F TV. A capsule on the making of the Kingfisher swimsuit calendar 2005 was aired on Zoom TV. And in the more than fifty countries where Kingfisher is present, all its business associates might just be checking the date (on their exclusive calendars) more frequently than the less privileged.
Atul Kasbekar, who has handled the photography for the calendar in all three of its editions (2003, 2004 and 2005), is an overjoyed man. He said, “It started off as a germ of an idea. Dr. Mallya could see the potential in it. He saw that the calendar could be a showcase for the Indian fashion industry.” The 2005 calendar features leading Indian models like Yana Gupta, Pia Trivedi, Sheetal Menon and two new international faces of Indian Origin - Asha Leo from London and Cindy Burbridge from Thailand.
Kingfisher, which has proved to be a pioneer in creating properties in the fashion and lifestyle space like the Kingfisher Fashion Awards, has without doubt reinforced its lifestyle positioning with the calendar property. The Fashion Awards is another annual property for the brand, which has completed five years now.
On the format of the calendar, Ramamurthy added, “It has worked for us. It looks good and has the desired level of Oomph.” Ask him about the super-exclusivity of the calendar and pat comes the reply, “Our objective is to carry the message of the calendar to as many people as possible, but to keep the calendar exclusive. It’s by design that the calendar is exclusive, making it even more desirable.”
The reasons for the success obviously include the perfect brand fit with the property. One more reason is perhaps better understood from this comment from Kasbekar: “It is wonderful to have a client who backs you all the way and says ‘Tell me what you want. I don’t want any excuses. I want kick ass work.’ This is honestly the most rewarding print assignment I have ever done.”
Atul admitted that there are a couple of ideas for next year’s calendar, but was quick to add that nothing has been discussed or finalised as yet. One wonders if the models in the calendar too, will take wing, like the Kingfisher in the brand’s logo did sometime back. Or like the brand itself, which has taken to the skies like the average advertising professional to beer. With Kingfisher and the man at its helm, you can never tell. The only thing you can be sure of is that it will ‘kick ass.’