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No holes barred; Royal Challenge gears up for $ 300,000 golf tourney

12-March-2004
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No holes barred; Royal Challenge gears up for $ 300,000 golf tourney

Cashing in on the growing popularity of golf in India, Royal Challenge is once again gearing up to organise a mega event of the game that CEOs play. The liquor major is set for its star-studded golf tourney: Royal Challenge Indian Open 2004. The third edition of the $ 300,000 event is slated for March 25 to 28, 2004.

Referring to the brand's association with golf, HN Nanani, CEO of the $2-billion Jumbo Group that owns Shaw Wallace, said: "Royal Challenge is the leading premium whisky brand with 65 per cent marketshare in its segment. It is considered prestigious, aspirational and distinctive. Golf is also a game of rare spirit. An association with golf has helped Shaw Wallace impart an aura of sophistication and premiumness to Royal Challenge - the attributes that the brand stands for." No wonder, Shaw Wallace has chalked Rs 10 crore for golf promotion.

"The decision-maker is getting younger. Golf too is getting younger everyday. So is Royal Challenge. It has always been positioned as a brand for those who have already arrived. But now, much like the sport itself, it is meant for upcoming executives, business people and young professionals aspiring to be business leaders of tomorrow", he added.

In line with this train of thoughts, Royal Challenge has recently launched a new campaign: 'What's life without Royal Challenge?' The new communication reflects the brand's close association with golf: the creative revolves around golf and presents the RC man as a focussed and confident young person who does not lose sight of his target. According to industry sources, Shaw Wallace has spent approximately Rs 12 to 14 crore on the campaign, devised by the advertising major Orchard.

This year, Hyundai has come up on the board as co-sponsor of the Royal Challenge Indian Open and will be conducting their 'Sonata Hole-in-One Challenge' where both players and Pro-Am participants will have a chance to win a Sonata Gold vehicle by scoring an ace on the fifth hole at Delhi Golf Club.

In an exclusive conversation with exchange4media.com, Sanjeev Shukla, Manager - Marketing, Hyundai Motor India, said: "Mainstream advertising is passive; associating with a golf tournament of this stature, for us, means reaching out to the right people. The image of Sonata, which we are promoting through such events, will reach out to our target segment." Shukla revealed that Hyundai has carved out a budget of Rs 75 lakhs for sports marketing.

Ravi Krishnan, Managing Director, South Asia, IMG/TWI and Senior International President, IMG was hopeful that the event would prove to be a good marketing platform. "I'm sure Royal Challenge Indian Open 2004 will see unprecedented levels of high-quality activity both on and off the greens," he said.

The Open will be played over four rounds; after 36 holes, the cut will be applied to the top-65 players. The maximum field would feature 102 international golfers, 45 Indians and 7 amateurs. Two days before the main event, a Pro-Am competition would be organised with 50 teams consisting of one professional and three amateurs. The winners of the Pro-Am tournament and the Pro tournament would also drive home a Hyundai Sonata Gold car, Shukla said.

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