‘The Derby encapsulates what Kingfisher Ultra stands for – sport, glamour & entertainment’

Gurpreet Singh, Head Marketing, United Breweries shares insights on the partnership with the Indian Derby, its new campaign and more at the announcement of Kingfisher Ultra Derby’s 5th edition

e4m by Noel Dsouza
Updated: Jan 27, 2020 9:35 AM
Gurpreet Singh

The highly anticipated Kingfisher Ultra Indian Derby 2020 was announced on Friday 24th, 2020. At the press meet Gurpreet Singh, Head – Marketing, United Breweries Ltd shared his plans for this year’s Derby and his thoughts on the brand's close-to-30-year journey with the event. He also discussed the newly-launched TVC of Kingfisher Ultra, conceptualized by Publicis. The Kingfisher Ultra Indian Derby aims to go beyond being just a horse race by hosting a variety of performances by various artists and instilling Influencer Marketing on ground and more.

e4m engaged in a tête-à-tête with Singh about the newly-launched campaign, the marketing mix, partnership with Indian Derby and Outlook for UB for this year.

Edited excerpts below:

How is the 5th edition of Kingfisher Ultra Indian Derby 2020 different and the impact the previous editions on brand UB? 

UB’s partnership with RWITC (Royal Western India Turf Club) has been around 30 years. However, Kingfisher Ultra as a brand came on board five years ago. As far as the sport is concerned, the Derby will be an exciting evening. Around 30,000 people will be there to have a good time. For us, it more than just a horse-racing event. The Derby is a heavy mix of sport, entertainment, and glamour. That is what brand Ultra is also known for and the Derby encapsulates all of that. 

This gives us great digital content, which we use not just as a run-up or association advertising. But there is a lot that our media partner One Play Sport has continued to showcase over the year. We have two Derbies that we have partnered with and they are spaced out by 6 months – in January and in July. In the next 6 months, there will be a lot of content from the Bombay Derby. And in July, when the Banglore Derby happens, there will be content rolled out then as well.

How will the brand leverage from appointing Farhan Akhtar as the brand ambassador? 

 A beer brand is typically known to target a younger audience. What I like most about the millennials is that they want to be successful in their work but they don't want to be defined by that. They want to chase their passion. As a brand, we recognize this. UB has to be at the forefront for the millennials. When we looked at Farhan Akhtar, he is not only a great actor but also a writer, producer, musician, social activist, and a fitness enthusiast. He is a multi-faceted celebrity every millennial wants to be. That’s where it all came together.

Marketing Mix of the new campaign

We have obviously gone digital in a very big way, considering the medium is pinpointed to the audience you talk to. So you are not wasting money. Apart from geo-targeting, we can also target the age, lifestyle and interests of the audience. With the same amount of money, we can reach out to the desired target n number of times.

Mass media is also required. Now that the new campaign has been unveiled, we will see hoardings, print and radio ads that will start appearing from 24 January 2020. Our print advertising will start from the middle of this week and then we will have an ad eventually every day. The focus is digital but there is a fair amount of traditional media as well.

The agency that conceptualized the new campaign for Kingfisher Ultra?

 Publicis has put together the creatives and the TVC for Kingfisher Ultra. We came up with the idea of roping in Farhan, given what he embodies. But after that, the creative content and the digital capture of the print ad and the TV ad has been done by Publicis. Even the OOH duties will be handled by Publicis.

Outlook for 2020 for the brand UB

 In an environment when many Indian brands attempted to premiumize, not many have had a success story. Fortunately for us, Kingfisher has always been marketed as a bigger brand than the product was. It was a lifestyle and not just a beer. Even though international brands have come in, we have created a brand that will stand head and shoulders with them and still be seen as superior.

With Ultra, we are not just advertising but creating content on digital where what brand Ultra stands for and what it wants to say are being discovered. So there are short films and web series in the works. A lot of it is planned for the next 12 months.

Don’t miss the breath-taking race and catch the Derby on Sunday, February 2nd, 2020 in Mumbai.

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