Diageo plans to use the IPL pitch to raise brand awareness

Amrita Nair Ghaswalla Mumbai | Updated on March 13, 2018

Bangalore : 06/10/2011. Team members of RCB after winning against NSWduring the Nokia Champions League Twenty 20 cricket between Royal Challengers and New South Wales Blues at M Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore on 6th October 2011. Photo :K . Bhagya Prakash   -  K_BHAGYA PRAKASH;THE HINDU

Diageo, the new owner of the IPL cricket team Bangalore Royal Challengers, is committed to the company’s sporting ventures. In fact, the management is said to be looking at the domestic league cricket team as a way to engage with the youth.

According to a marketing official who did not wish to be identified, “Diageo considers its brands social by design and ensures that marketing efforts are present in the right areas and help drive conversation.”

With a portfolio that includes Smirnoff, Guinness and Johnnie Walker Scotch whiskey, Diageo plans to use the Indian Premier League (IPL) effectively to get its message across to its target audience, said the official. He added that brands such as Smirnoff have achieved up to 20 per cent uplift in global sales through social media marketing.

According to analysts tracking the company, Diageo has used sports earlier as a platform for brand awareness drives and is expected to do the same with IPL season six.

Alankar Garude, Associate at Edelweiss Financial Services, said, “Diageo’s branding through Mercedes McLaren has been very fruitful. Diageo will also evaluate the costs and benefits of the cricket team.”

Shashi Sinha, CEO of IPG Mediabrands India, said that as Diageo’s deal with United Spirits is yet to be formally structured, the former would prefer to go ahead with Royal Challengers brand this season of the IPL, rather than shift to its own brand name.

For several years, Diageo has sought to shore up its operations in the country. Bailing out a struggling Kingfisher airline helped the world’s biggest distiller stamp its footprint in India, the world’s biggest whiskey market.

In November 2012, a subsidiary of Mallya's UB Group, United Spirits, sold 53.4 per cent stake to Diageo for over Rs 11,166.5 crore in a multi-structured deal. Diageo was looking to secure a market in India on the lines of Pernod Ricard and United Spirits. Its deal with Mallya helped the company catapult ahead of the pack.

United Spirits’ McDowell’s was the top selling whisky in the country with sales of $930 million last year, while Pernod Ricard’s Royal Stag came close second at $870 million.

As a premium drinks company, Diageo supports its vast portfolio through a mix of global sports, music and entertainment properties ranging from professional rugby to Formula 1 with the Johnnie Walker/Vodafone, Mercedes McLaren and music. The IPL association can only improve its brand image in India, say observers.

Incidentally, McLaren and Vodafone are to end their long running title sponsorship deal. The partnership began in 2007 and was worth $75 million per year.


Published on March 30, 2013

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