Kingfisher is one of the oldest, most widely recognized and respected brands in India. Ever since its inception, the brand has not only succeeded in guarding its numero uno status, but has also been able to evolve into one of the most contemporary and aspirational youth icons of today. It is the only brand in the category to successfully straddle the mild and the strong beer category of the country, together selling in excess of 68 mn cases.
And just how did it manage to do that? By being consistent in its brand promise of being the 'King of Good Times'. Translated, this means that the brand acts as a catalyst in making any moment truly exceptional and memorable. True to its positioning and the fun platform that it has consistently occupied, the brand's marketing initiatives have always been through sponsorships and associations with sports, fashion and fun events, transforming it into a true lifestyle brand.
Kingfisher's association with sports started with the Sailing Rally from Bombay to Goa, moving on to the sponsorship of West Indies Cricket team in 1996 and the Benetton Formula 1 team in 1996. The brand's association with cricket continued with the sponsorship of Indian cricketing icons like Saurav Ganguly and Ajay Jadeja in the late 90s. The year 2006 saw two of the best players of the game, Andrew Flintoff and Michael Vaughan, endorsing the brand through a highly visible ‘We are true Kingfisher fans' campaign. Currently, Kingfisher is the Good times partner for 5 IPL teams i.e. Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Deccan Chargers, Rajasthan Royals, and Delhi Daredevils.
Kingfisher also sponsors the East Bengal Football Club (Asian Champions 2003) and promotes Baichung Bhutia, one of the most popular footballers in the country. Kingfisher also hosts 'Corporate 5s', an annual five a side football event for corporates at the national level.
The brand has reflected the spirit of 'Good Times' through associations with speed and thrill right from the days of Benetton Formula 1. From sponsoring the fastest Indian on the circuit - Narain Karthikeyan, to signing on Karun Chandhok, Kingfisher has also been involved in promoting the current rage among youngsters in India, Go-Karting. Currently, Kingfisher is one of the leading sponsors of team Force India, which is considered to be one of the most aggressive teams in F1 today and has gone on to sign Adrian Sutil as one of its ambassadors. Force India stands for values of being fast paced, full of adrenaline, stylish, cool, which is completely in-sync with the brand values of Kingfisher. Kingfisher also gave its F1 fans a once in a lifetime to race with Adrian Sutil, in a unique go-karting challenge. Apart from this, the King has also been responsible for taking numerous fans to the F1 Paddock clubs to experience the race live.
On the fashion front, Kingfisher was responsible for constituting the "Kingfisher Fashion Awards" and there on has been actively involved with the fashion fraternity, which includes photographers, models and designers. Apart from this, the brand has also promoted leading Indian designers like Ritu Beri, Hemant Trivedi, Raghavendra Rathore and Manoviraj Khosla, who instrumental in launching the Kingfisher line of clothing and accessories.
The Kingfisher Swimsuit Calendar is another successful property the brand has developed over the years. Conceptualised along the lines of the Pirelli calendar, the Kingfisher Swimsuit Calendar is the perfect blend of fashion, fun and glamour. Over the years, its unveiling has become one of the most eagerly anticipated events in the Indian fashion calendar. Introduced in 2003, the 'Kingfisher Swimsuit Special' became the pioneer of sorts in India and led the path for many such concepts to follow. In addition to this, Kingfisher has been associated with various Fashion festivals in India. Kingfisher has been a “Good Times Partner” to the FDCI sponsored Fashion Week in Delhi. The Bangalore Fashion week, Kolkata Fashion Week is now on board with Lakme Fashion Week 2009 and will be seen with many more in the near future.
Apart from direct sponsorships and associations, the brand is also involved in various ground level activities which are more experiential in nature – thematic promos at pubs, MTV awards, Sunday Night Bazaars, Casino Nite, etc being a few. Voice of Goa, an annual hunt for the best singing talent in Goa, has been a tremendous hit. Kingfisher has kept an array of festivals in its bag to keep the Good Times rolling.
In the past few years Kingfisher has extended the spirit of the German Oktoberfest to the region, calls it Kingfisher The Great Indian Octoberfest (Kingfisher TGIOF). Last year featured a burst of prominent national as well as international artists performing their hearts out. TGIOF celebrates all genres from the best of Bollywood to Rock to Club and even the very best of EDM. Octorberfest was just the ice on its soul surface which eventually spawned into several spin offs encapsulating the same theme, each targeted to a different pop culture segment in the arts and entertainment arena. The spirit of Octoberfest was also carried out to Delhi where it got the name 'The Kingfisher Rocktoberfest'- a 3 day festival which showcases the best of rock bands from across the country. Kingfisher had been conducting a unique music festival that happened across pubs. 'The Kingfisher Premium Pubrockfest' saw as many as 75 gigs across 16 cities within the country. Being a true testament to promoting local artistic talent Kingfisher has been a part of some of the biggest regional talent hunts across the country. Events ranging from 'Kingfisher Voice of Goa' to 'Kingfisher Kerala Rocks' and last but not least 'Kingfisher Bangalore Rocks' each catered to the aspiring raw talents within its region, proving a launch pad and a landmark event in Indian popculture. The music didn't stop there as this beloved king took it a step further by embracing the dance segment as well. 'The Kingfisher Salsa Congress', a first of its kind in the region, is one of the largest salsa festivals in the country. The King has played host to some of the most prominent DJs from across the globe including World's No. 1 DJs Tiesto. The brand has also extended itself by being an associate with an iconic event named 'The Sunburn festival' which features the likes of Armin Van Burren, along with a few other best known DJ's from across the world. When the sun goes down the rock gods come out to play, followed by the metal demons not far behind. Kingfisher Metal events in the past year have seen the likes of Sepultura, Textures & Amon Amarth to name a few. Each bringing their personal best to the table as they engage in the tournament of 'Deccan Rock' and 'Metalfest'.
The latest and most significant event in the life of the brand has been the launch of the award winning Kingfisher Airlines. The airline has made a mark for itself through its highly differentiated product offering and Good Times experience. It has not only become the preferred airline of any traveler, but also the most aspirational one. All this has succeeded in further boosting the Kingfisher brand imagery.