We are big and we want to be bigger: Kartik Mohindra, Pernod Ricard India

Kartik Mohindra, CMO, Pernod Ricard India, spoke about the new association and how Pernod Ricard is looking at brand amplification involving cricketing and non cricketing platforms


Royal Stag recently announced its five year partnership with the International Cricket Council (ICC). The partnership has once again reiterated that sporting platforms have become effective marketing platforms for brands across the board. In this exclusive interview, Kartik Mohindra, CMO, Pernod Ricard India, spoke about the new association and how Pernod Ricard is looking at brand amplification involving cricketing and non cricketing platforms.

Does this association underline the growing influence of sporting platforms as effective marketing channels?

Yes it does. There are two reasons, first is that sports is about active viewership, GEC is also active, but lesser, it is almost passive from a viewership standpoint.  When you are speaking about GECs, you are also talking about viewership getting split between various members of a particular household. As marketers you have to understand who is driving the choice of programming in a particular household.

When it comes to sports, by and large, you are very clear about who you are reaching out to. In my opinion if there is a major sporting activity, like the upcoming World Cup, you know that TV viewership and print readership is going to be skewed for that time behind the fever of the World Cup. 

Also, sports in India used to be only cricket and it was extremely expensive. But as you see, with the Indian Soccer League, the Indian Kabbadi League, Badminton League, all these sports are also getting their rightful place under the sun.  And with it, a lot of new avenues have opened up for a number of brands. 

Even within cricket, if you look at IPL, it brought to the table so many sponsors or brand partners, which were not there earlier when it came to international cricket. But when everybody jumps on the bandwagon, the problem of standing out arises. 

To me there are a lot of sporting events which have too many brands, so I sometimes wonder who is getting picked up. It is maybe only a reminder communication at some point. So it is about integrating deeper and deeper. We are not only partners with ICC, we also have a whole 360 camping around it to amplify the association.

The Royal Stag campaign " Make It Large' has featured across platforms and still continues to move audiences.  What would you call the factors that have made this campaign so successful over the years?

I believe there is a lot of internal passion behind Royal Stag and what it has become, and there is a lot of belief in what the brand does and the position that it has taken. That is also something which keeps the consistency going through the length and breadth of our organization.

What makes it so impactful is that it is a very simple insight which is true for each one of us—“It's your life, make it large.” At every level this is what each one of us aspires to do and it does not change in my opinion with time. 

When we started with this campaign it was 2004 and today is 2018.  So 14 years on, the aspiration has still not changed. It may have moved to another level and they also want to move on to the next and then the next. That is the sentiment and that is the insight we are at and we are about being that brand which inspires the audience to go out there, dream and achieve.

If you see, for this campaign, we have not picked up stars; we have picked people who from nothing have made massive name, who embody the philosophy of the brand. There are many cricketers over the years who we found even before they entered the national team and they went on to captain the country. 

For the marketer today there are so many platforms to communicate, has it made marketing more effective or more complex?

I think it is wonderful. The Indian audience is expanding; their desires and their interests are evolving. If you take the digital media, it has opened up a whole landscape of interests for people. So they are naturally going to get associated with so many things.

From a marketer's standpoint, you have to continuously track what is gaining more prominence, what is more inspiring, what associates better for your own brand, and then you latch on to it.  But the minute you do, do it with all your heart.

This choice also gives us a lot of opportunity to go out there and do different things. Life for marketers was a lot simpler earlier; it is a little more difficult now and therefore a little more exciting too.

We are big and we want to become larger, we want to spread our wings across many countries around the world, make our presence felt, and this association with ICC is one of the steps in that direction.

Tell us about your new ICC campaign, which platforms are you targeting?

It is going to be a multi media campaign and we are not going to be limited to television only. Digital is important and will continue to be important for us and another primary vehicle from my standpoint.

The print media is equally important, and last but not the least is out of home. We on our part have not finalized the plan or the mix but we are going to leverage every touch point that we can possibly have.

After this association with ICC, are you looking at partnering with other sporting platforms too?

We have a very wide portfolio within the group Pernod Ricard and with the footprint that we have in India, there are several brands which are associated with several sports.  We have Imperial Blue which has previously been with hockey and is currently also with football. So we closely monitor the viewership patterns and accordingly associate our brand with those. So it's a moving target.

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