The twelfth edition of the Kingfisher Calendar is all set to be released with Dayana Erappa on its cover. For the first time, the brand invited people to select the cover girl for the calendar by leveraging social media, though voting itself was introduced to engage audiences sometime ago.
Samar Singh Sheikhawat, senior vice president - marketing, United Breweries Limited (UBL), said, “The Kingfisher Calendar has always been a very premier and aspirational property and is probably the most desired calendar that is produced in India. The original idea was to present a glamourous, young and fashionable avatar of brand Kingfisher among opinion leaders and movers and shakers.”
In the early days of the property, Dr. Vijay Mallya, chairman, UBL, would select the cover girl for the calendar and send it out to roughly 3,000 people across India.
With growth in popularity, the official says it has been further broadbased by involving common Kingfisher fans in the process of creating the calendar.
Sheikhawat explained, “The whole aim is to democratise the process and get more engagement of people around the conceptualisation, creation and promotion of the calendar. Over the years what we’ve done is create things like ‘Create your own calendar’, whereby people could log in via social media and create their own calendar online from a collection of pictures that were not selected to the final calendar. When you have a fan base of 7.5 million like Kingfisher does, how do you explode it into the entire digital fraternity?”
“A couple of years ago we did a thing where people could vote for their favourite calendar girl. Five of the six girls in the calendar were chosen by Atul (Kasbekar) and Mr. Mallya while one used to be selected as the winner of this competition,” he added.
Kingfisher has also had initiatives such as the Calendar Auction, through which it was able to raise money for charity besides create Kingfisher Super Models which runs on NDTV Good Times.
Sheikhawat notes that a large part of what Kingfisher does is 'provide people with experiences that money can’t buy'.
“It’s always been a popular part of our marketing philosophy,” he added.
The voting for this year’s calendar generated over 37k votes in under three weeks.
The spokesperson added that engagement initiatives are paying off for the brand. He surmised, “Those numbers are there in terms of likes, shares etc. We always try and better those numbers. However, we do a consumer brand track every six months, and words such as 'young', 'aspirational', 'desirable', 'sexy', 'fashionable' come up. The scores we get from that are driven by (engagement) activities such as this. This shows that we are going in the right direction.”