Changing positioning from celebrating outdoors to ‘Ghar Pe Kingfisher’

Debabrata Mukherjee, CMO, UB Group, shares more on how the brand managed to stay relevant throughout the lockdown and now during the IPL

e4m by Neeta Nair
Updated: Oct 27, 2020 3:38 PM
Debabrata Mukherjee

Kingfisher has launched a host of innovative ads for IPL, which have caught the consumer’s attention for the slight twist it brings to the brand’s positioning. While the beginning of the year wasn’t exactly the most ideal for the UB Group, it did manage to keep the brand relevant throughout the lockdown and now during the IPL.

Debabrata Mukherjee, CMO, UB Group, takes us through the journey of the ‘King of Good Times’ in a not-so-good time.

How has UB Group managed to stay relevant in its communication in the past year?

We were ready with our summer campaign in February and that’s when the lockdown happened. At that time the Prime Minister of the country was exhorting people to stay at home. So, for the first time in many years, we actually put the Kingfisher bird on a branch, with the messaging ‘the good times will come back but for now stay on your branch’. We got a lot of positive feedback for that and it lasted for a month and a half.

After the first three weeks, people started using different avenues to entertain themselves at home. While there was a part of the economy that was badly hit, there was also a set of consumers feeling bored. So we did Sunburn at Home and Bollyboom at home. The Sunburn is a huge experiential piece away from home for which we do events in Goa and other parts of the country, but this time we had to take it to digital.

We also created a Kingfisher anthem, a 90-seconds video, which talked about how we can celebrate the new normal of being at home by connecting with friends. Our own employees created a video, some of our regular consumers also followed by creating their own video, slapping on our music and making their own zoom party. There was wide scale adoption and we felt good that at least in the boredom and in the loneliness people are feeling that, Kingfisher, the social catalyst was able to play a part and energize them.

Liquor stores reopening was part of the earliest Unlock India stages. How did you capitalize on that?

Incidentally around that time there was a big craze for Dalgona coffee, as liquor stores started opening up we took a quick dig at Dalgona by saying that ‘The original king of froth is back’, so many people used it as their Instagram stories, it went viral with organic adoption, we didn’t have to push it much.

We are seeing a lot of Kingfisher ads on Hotstar and social media platforms this IPL season, and you have changed your positioning from an outdoor brand to one that fits just as well inside homes too?

We recently had a successful launch of what we call the ‘Ghar pe Kingfisher’. We realized that the bars will take a lot of time to open up and even if they do, getting back to normal will take time. For years this category has been built as an away from home social lubricant. So we wanted to bring the Kingfisher experience at home. And we picked up regular father-son, father- daughter situations and celebrated having Kingfisher at home with our loved ones, obviously with the right drinking age and the right profile. Basically, you don’t need to enjoy your Kingfisher going out, you can enjoy your Kingfisher staying in.

But what has been the overall strategy for IPL this year?

We have associations with five out of eight teams and are presenting partners on Hotstar. Through our Kingfisher campaign in IPL, we are trying to bring to life the concept of ‘Kya Plan Hai?’ Of course, with Kingfisher being the ‘plan’. We are working with our influencers, creating home viewing experiences and trying to take the communication beyond a 15-second Hotstar spot. Earlier we used to do huge meet and greets with the press, bowl outs in a mall etc, now we are doing virtual meet and greet with the players which becomes special as it is personalized. We are creating a fully integrated act around the IPL and are very proud being one of the longest standing partners of the IPL, with a 13-year long association between Kingfisher and the game.

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