Shaw Wallace sponsors IN Mumbai pageant, sports events

MUMBAI: Liquor major Shaw Wallace & company (SWC) is using the events route to create awareness and excitement around its brands such as White Mischief and Royal Challenge due to the existing curbs on liquor advertising. In fact, the company has entered into a co-branding exercise with IN Mumbai Network's Miss Mumbai contest. The Royal Challenge Indian Open will be held in March 2003.



Speaking to, SWC executive director Niranjan Thakur confirmed that the liquor associations have made several representations to the government for relaxing the curbs on advertising. "It is difficult to understand how the government permits outdoor advertising in the case of cigarette companies but forbids liquor companies. The fault also lies with some manufacturers who have gone above board and flouted norms. However, the government has to reconsider its decision and take a different view," adds Thakur.

SWC is bullish on events which can offer the requisite mileage for the brands. Different brands have been associated with different sporting and fashion events - for instance Royal Challenge (RC) the premium whisky in India, has been associated with golf for the last several years. RC is sponsoring the Indian Open Golf at the cost of Rs 100 million. As far as whisky products are concerned, SWC's top markets are western India and southern India (Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu).

The Royal Challenge Indian Open will be held in March 2003 and the four Royal Challenge Grand Prix will be held in Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai & Mumbai. Exhibitions of the quality range of Royal Challenge Golf and Club accessories are also held on the occasion.

As far as vodka products are concerned, SWC's largest market is Western India and Mumbai. "The second White Mischief Corporate Bowling Championship had teams from 28 different companies participating in the event. The location was the Bowling Co in Mumbai.The Championship, which is India's largest corporate bowling event, was a huge success and got everybody together and motivated the employees to play for a team cause," says Thakur.

CEOs participated in the CEOs Corporate Bowling Championship. included: E-Funds MD Pradeep Saxena, Mahindra and Mahindra ED Arun Nanda, DSP Merrill Lynch VC Shitin Desai, ING Asset Management CEO Kavita Hurry, Stanton Chase International MD R. Suresh , Star India CEO Peter Mukherjea, KPMG partner Bharat Raut.

Inspiration 2000 and Haywards, the beer brand, is associating with dart competitions.

SWC is also conducting ground events for its dealers and distributors. Some of the top performers will be sent on a fully sponsored trip to South Africa to watch the World Cup cricket matches. In fact, there is news that SWC's advertising agency has worked on a "Bolo Tha Na" promotional campaign which was supposed to be launched during the World Cup. However, it will conform to the advertising rules that will apply to liquor advertising.

The industry is facing a lot of problems due to non-level playing field and government policies. The state governments also has a major say in the wholesale and retail distribution of liquor in India. For instance, in southern states, the wholesale business rests with the state government. In Delhi, the retail as well as wholesale business is with the government.

"We expect the central government and the finance minister to reduce excise duties. If they are planning to reduce import duties for foreign brands, the local brands must get a reprieve too," adds Thakur.

It looks as if liquor marketing is in for some heady action!

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