Wodka Gorbatschow eyes unconventional advertising to up market share

Wodka Gorbatschow, a brand from the Allied Blenders & Distilleries stable, is looking at AFPs to kickstart its new marketing push for the year and has aggressive plans to capture 25 per cent of the market share by 2016.

e4m by Preeti Hoon
Updated: Apr 19, 2011 8:31 AM  | 5 min read
Wodka Gorbatschow eyes unconventional advertising to up market share

Wodka Gorbatschow, a brand from the Allied Blenders & Distilleries stable, is looking at AFPs to kickstart its new marketing push for the year. Continuing with its ATL activities, the vodka brand has aggressive plans to capture 25 per cent of the market share in next five years.

The brand is in its third year in the Indian market and has already acquired 10 per cent of the premium vodka market. The creative duties of Wodka Gorbatschow are currently handled by Metaphor and the media account rests with TME, while Quasar is the digital agency on board for the brand.

Speaking exclusively to exchange4media, Ahmed Rahimtoola, Vice President - Marketing, Allied Blenders & Distilleries Pvt Ltd, shares more on the brand’s marketing plans. He elaborated, “Gorbatschow has been very aggressive on the ATL front. Currently, Gorbatschow has an on-air property with MTV called ‘True Life’, which is supported through OOH, radio and multiplex branding. Besides, we had on AFP with Zoom called ‘Face Off’ (a 12-episode series that captures little/ unknown facets of well-known celebrities) and a UGC property called ‘Pure Shots’. We also bought some leading cutting edge artists like Darren Bailey of Gurujosh fame and DJ Sanj of American Desi fame to India for a tour.”

‘Gorbatschow Pure Shots’ is a short film contest based on the theme of ‘Whoever you are, Be pure’. The objective of this contest is to gauge today’s generation’s perception of purity and how this could be leveraged through digital media. The winning candidate gets a trip to the Cannes Film Festival 2011.

Speaking further, Rahimtoola said, “This year, starting April, we have planned a robust activity calendar. An AFP with MTV called ‘True Life’ will get the ball rolling.”

Elaborating on the ‘True Life’ initiative, Aditya Swamy, Channel Head, MTV India, said, “For an effort such as this, it is very important to have a clear brand-fit. With Gorbatschow’s positioning of ‘Whatever you are, be pure’, it was a true meeting of minds with MTV and that manifested itself in ‘True Life’. This just highlights that when brands see broadcasters as marketing partners than just media vehicles, one can find very effective ways of communicating with viewers.”

The Purity Platform
Meanwhile, the brand was recently repositioned on the ‘Whoever you are, Be Pure’ platform and had used various media like OOH, radio, magazines, digital and experiential events to communicate the same. Rahimtoola explained, “Gorbatschow is positioned as a premium international vodka in the Indian market. Our tagline ‘Whoever you are, Be pure’ is embedded in a very strong consumer insight. The insight being, that we all play many roles in life, some roles we play out of compulsion, some because we like them and some to please the society. As a brand, Wodka Gorbatschow tells its audience that whatever role you play in life, play it with honesty, integrity and with purity. This message is beautifully captured in the tagline ‘Whoever you are, Be Pure’, thereby owning the high ground in purity. All communication that we do is consistent with this messaging.”

Admitting that advertising in the alcohol industry was challenging, more so for a new brand, Rahimtoola added that all segments within different alcohol categories had certain well defined codes when it came to communication. “The challenge is to operate within the codes and still be different and relevant. You also need to back what you show in ATL with a lot of BTL visibility and initiatives where you are allowed to show the bottle, so that the connect becomes stronger. We have actually used a combination of tools of communication like OOH, print, radio and digital to get effective reach, backed by a good BTL support,” he further said.

Continuing further, he remarked that the journey of Wodka Gorbatschow in India had been challenging yet exciting. “Being a challenger brand and fighting a competitor that is almost generic to the category, we have managed to create our own niche in the market place,” he added. The brand faces stiff competition from Smirnoff and Eristoff, while Absolut is also a strong competitor.

Digital Cocktail
Besides the AFPs and BTL activities, Wodka Gorbatschow has also been quite active on the digital front. Rahimtoola said, “We have been present on this medium since Wodka Gorbatschow’s launch in India with the highly successful ‘Mix your Cocktail’ contest, which gave users an entire virtual bar at their disposal. This application was also ported to Facebook, marking the brand’s entry on to the most used social network in the world.”

A microsite (www.gorbatschow.in) connects with the user’s Facebook profile, giving him a completely immersive social experience, which is aimed at bringing users face to face with their dual roles while staying true to the product’s claim.

Wodka Gorbatschow is now set to enter the Kerala market. Rahimtoola divulged, “This year, we plan to add one more state – Kerala – to our existing markets. And we aim to capture a 25 per cent share of the premium vodka market by 2016.”

The brand is available in classic, orange, vanilla and green apple flavours and claims to have sold over 60,000 cases this year, as per official data.

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