Bacardi’s sense of music gets Only
Much Louder

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When one thinks of music, the imagery of a monumental infatuation amongst the young audiences towards chords and tunes of various kinds comes forth. Bring in a liquor brand into the frame, the thought of long drawn and controversial associations, takes picture. As a premium international liquor brand, operating in standard-premium price segments in India today, Bacardi, which started off with cassettes and CDs, and received significant slack for it, arrived at properties like Bacardi Blast and mixbacardi.com.

Its most recent association has been with Only Much Louder, which is the power behind NH7 Weekender, a multi-genre music festival running in its third year now. The festival is unique in not just its bringing together and evangelising independent music in the country, but also in mobilising a community which is strapped tight to its music. The magnitude of this affiliation was felt on popular social networking platforms sometime back when the festival increased its scale and moved out of Pune to visit, Bangalore and Delhi as well. The disgruntled fans, who felt that the festival was leaving its home ground, were clear indicators of the fact that the community saw music as one of the biggest passion points.

Manish Seth

Manish Seth, Director- Marketing & Sales, Bacardi India

And amidst this entire hullabaloo, Bacardi stands firm at a productive partnership. “It’s not so much about sale of products per se, but more about building relevance and being relevant to today’s youth. And, this is where striking an emotional chord plays a vital role,” says Manish Seth, Director, Marketing and Sales, Bacardi India.

Multiplying one venue to three this year has also tripled the spend on this festival property for Bacardi. “In terms of investment, we have increased it by 15 per cent since each year we’d want to up the ante in terms of the artists we bring to this festival.” And that is translating well into popular international bands and artists like Megadeth, Karnivool, Anoushka Shankar and Shafqat Amanat Ali, hitting Indian shores at this year’s leg of the festival.

In a Cleft Stick no more?
With this association, Bacardi is looking at young SEC A and B urban music lovers. As an extension, Seth also says that the underlying music experience that the festival provides, extends to a broader category of music lovers affiliated to distinct genres as well. And for audiences which have intrinsically short attention spans, Vijay Nair, CEO, Only Much Louder, feels that there is no better place for brands to be innovative and to reward its loyal customers. “Festivals like these are a great platform for brands to engage with audiences in a manner which is way more meaningful than being just a logo in the artwork,” adds Vijay.

Naresh Gupta, Managing Partner & Chief Strategy Officer, Bang in the Middle, articulates this further. “It’s a great connect, is never in your face, and the residual impact of using music lasts much longer. Bacardi was built on the back of a very memorable jingle – Be what you want to be – and it makes sense for them to use music to connect.”

When questioned on whether this again will pass as a favourite example of wearing an incorrect garb while advertising, Gupta puts across an adequate defence. His insight into this is that both music and liquor promote a tribal behaviour and a sense of bonding. And thus, “brands don’t even have to try too hard.” He sees this as a celebrated opportunity for both the music artist and the beverage brand in question.

Divulging figures on sales at the festival, Seth says that over two hundred cases of alcohol were consumed last year in Pune.

This union between NH7 Weekender and Bacardi is thus, not just backed by figures but by the fact that the brand is getting the correct traction by tapping into the right community and following its philosophy of bringing people “together” in a precise execution. The association has also transcended into the television space with content initiatives like ‘The Dewarists’, which also accounts collaborations between Indian and International artists.

“The ‘community’,” says Nair, “has no direct correlation to surrogate advertising.” And that possibly is a good build by the brand toward an indisputable stance.

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