Very few really care if their mug of beer is cloudy or carries a hint of caramel. It is about the experience of sitting with friends in a familiar pub, glowing from diffused lighting. Beer-makers know this, and try their best to get an invite to that table. And this time, they have found a new ally on the web.
The story goes like this: a person returns to a bar near his old college, sits with the bar manager at a table and they tilt a pint of Kingfisher into their mugs. Then they phone their old friends after five years for a reunion in Goa. This is the opening shot of a web series playing on YouTube, called Cheers, owned by United Breweries. Every episode of this story, and every story, has characters with mugs of the bird beer.
“There has been a tectonic shift in the way liquor brands advertise. Surrogate advertising has moved to surrogate story-telling,” says Shrenik Gandhi, co-founder of White Rivers Media, a digital agency that works with liquor brands. This started about two to three years ago, coinciding with the data explosion in India. Kingfisher Ultra, promoted through YouTube, has become the best performing brand – growing 45% over the past one year. “There are multiple factors behind that but a lot of narrations, web content, and on-ground activation, also seem to have worked for Ultra,” says Gurpreet Singh, VP of UB. Kingfisher has invested more than its peers in its web entertainment. Usually, companies get their content made from outside agencies and then brand them. But Kingfisher has an internal team that is involved in the content creation.
“With OTTs and YouTube, a large number of new avenues for adve