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Royal Stag stands for "Make it large"

One year short of its 25th Anniversary in India, Pernod Ricard has become the leading alcoholic beverage company in the country with Seagram’s Royal Stag as its flagship brand. Royal Stag has been a consistent star since launch, and a brand quite often credited to have changed the rules of the game. It is for the young, confident, progressive and inspiring individual who embodies self-belief. The brand has been inspiring young India through its communication around the philosophy of “It’s your life. Make it large”. 

Cricket has always been central to Royal Stag’s brand communication. Over the years, the brand’s continuous association with the world’s top cricketers has strengthened its engagement with cricket lovers across the country. 

Now, Seagram’s Royal Stag has made the grand addition of the world’s leading bowler into their dream team, with Jasprit Bumrah, India’s new pace sensation, joining the Royal Stag stable. Riding high on his excellent performance in the ICC Cricket World Cup and in the recently held West Indies tour, Bumrah is an embodiment of talent and extraordinary potential and fits in well with the philosophy of the brand. 

True to its iconic status and philosophy around cricket, the brand entered into a 5-year association with the ICC in 2018 and is currently endorsed by leading cricketing stars from across the globe – South Africa’s Faf du Plessis, England’s Ben Stokes, India’s KL Rahul, West Indies’ Andre Russel, New Zealand’s Kane Williamson, and Australia’s Mitchell Starc. 

Royal Stag has also has a strong association with music and short format content. Under ‘Seagram's Royal Stag Mega Music’, the brand had sponsored a multi-city music tour featuring Strings, along with Saif Ali Khan (the then brand ambassador) and Indian rock 'n roll band Parikrama in January 2008. Royal Stag is the title sponsor of the Mirchi Music Awards. The brand has also has in its repertoire the Royal Stag Barrel Select Large Short Films platform. 

Adgully spoke to Ishwindar Singh, GM - Marketing, Pernod Ricard India, on Pernod Ricard and Brand Royal Stag’s journey in India, while Joydeep Basuroy sheds some light on growing the Royal Stag Barrel Select Large Short Films platform. 

How has Pernod Ricard’s journey been in India?
Ishwindar Singh: It’s been 24 years that Pernod Ricard has been in India, we will celebrate our 25th year in 2020. I guess Pernod Ricard is one of the earliest Make in India initiatives, even though we are a global company. Over the years, we have built some niche brands in the country and picked up the pulse of the Indian consumers early on, which is a requisite for success and have created aspirational value for our brands. Thus, Royal Stag is about ‘Dream and Achieve’, Blender’s Pride campaign – My Life, My Pride – in fact, rode on the aspiration of Made in India. Pernod Ricard India has grown from strength to strength and we are proud to say that the stage that we have reached, we are currently one of the crown jewel of Pernod Ricard Global.

What is your budget for the festive season this year? What kind of activities have you lined up?

Ishwindar Singh: The budget is not fixed, but we have integrated a plan to follow the passion points. We have focused on cricket and will support and work closely with the upcoming cricket season. I don’t think it’s so much about festive season as we are a part of celebrations, but we believe that by creating the right brand desire, we can be a part of all celebrations and don’t need to do anything different. 

You’ve had a strong association with sports, especially cricket? How has this helped Royal Stag as a brand?

Ishwindar Singh: I think it was in the year 2000 when we did our first campaign, called ‘Truly World Class’, where we associated with the likes of Brett Lee, Courtney Walsh. That was the first campaign. We have been very consistent in our focus on cricket and realised early on that Cricket and Bollywood are the two passion points of the Indian consumers. Today, we have a very strong position in both Cricket and Bollywood due to the passion points of the consumers, therefore, we continue to focus on them. 

You had also signed a sponsorship deal with the ICC in 2018. How is that association panning out?

Ishwindar Singh: We had a great ICC World Cup in 2019 and we are really proud to partner with ICC for the next 5 years. We are really excited about the opportunity that it gives us as a brand. We are doubling our investments in ICC by tying up with Jaspreet Bumrah and we believe it will only go from strength to strength. 

How is Jasprit Bumrah a brand fit for Royal Stag? Is it a result of your association with ICC? Earlier, you had Saif Ali Khan on board and had also done some music concerts with him.

Ishwindar Singh: It’s a very good question. Last year, we did an internal deep dive on Royal Stag and we realised that our association with cricket embodied the philosophy of – Dream, Hard work and Achieve. While Bollywood is good place, we felt that cricket still remains the stronger religion in this country and we saw it during the World Cup, when the number of Indians watching the tournament was phenomenal. We decided to pick up the person who embodied our brand philosophy and we found him in Jasprit Bumrah. As a young boy he had a dream, an aspiration and firmly believed that if he worked hard he would achieve what he wanted. Today, he has become a part of the Royal Stag family and is the embodiment of living our brand philosophy. It would have been sacrilege to not have him in the team; he embodies that so beautifully – moving from what he was about 3 years ago to be the No. 1 bowler in the world today. He is at a fantastic place. 

What are the activities that are you planning with Bumrah?

Ishwindar Singh: We will be doing a complete 360-degree campaign around him as he embodies a brand. He will be a part in our brand campaign and that’s where we start from and then we will plan out our future activities. 

You have also invested in content through the Royal Stag Barrel Select Large Short Films initiative. Could you take us through how this initiative was developed?

Joydeep Basuroy: We anticipated that shorter format video will be popular, that’s how the platform was developed. The platform started in 2013, and it was a long journey. At that time we were the only ones to undertake such an initiative. I personally think the short movie by Sujoy Ghosh, called ‘Ahalya’, changed the landscape of the entire industry, and that’s how other platforms started creating this type of content. We have always strived to give the best possible content to the people. We have also created short film categories at the Mumbai Film Festival and even Filmfare is now recognising this format. 

‘The Last Chapter’ from Raj Singh Chaudhary is the latest offering from the platform. What type of content are people appreciating?

Joydeep Basuroy: The platform is not about conveying any social message. It is about creating good content which is appreciated by the people. The content always comes from across many genres. It may sound like it gives a social message, but it is looked at from the perspective of a short film. 

How do you market these films?

Joydeep Basuroy: We have another platform – Royal Stag Barrel Select Large Short Films, which is the premium version. This platform stands for originality and perfection and the content is showcased on our website. 

Are you planning to tie up with OTT platforms to provide the content of Royal Stag Barrel Select Large Short Films to them?

Joydeep Basuroy: Currently, it is available on YouTube and on our website. OTT platforms are approaching us and we aren’t ruling it out. So, we are open to a tie-up.

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