Premium alcohol for all with Jack Daniel’s RTD

Vinay Joshi, marketing manager for the Indian sub-continent and Maldives, speaks with Campaign India about the launch of the ready-to-drink Jack Daniel's can

Feb 18, 2022 03:45:00 AM | Article | Raahil Chopra

During a chat with Campaign India in October 2020, Vineet Agrawal, marketing and commercial director, India area, Brown-Forman, stated that the premix, Jack and Cola, the brand sells globally wasn’t easy to launch in India.
 
A year later, the brand rolled out its first ready-to-drink offering in Goa, with plans to make it available pan-India.
 
With Agrawal being given a global mandate, Brown-Forman appointed Vinay Joshi as marketing manager for the Indian sub-continent and Maldives in September last year.
 
Campaign India caught up with Joshi to learn what triggered the change in thinking and the launch of the drink, how it will be marketed in India, and more…
 
 
Edited excerpts:
 
The premix wasn't considered viable earlier. What's changed since then?
 
I think it was always a question of when and not if for the launch of this in India. Through this, we want to make the Jack Daniel’s brand more accessible and affordable in the country. We’ve launched this at a price point of Rs 175 in Goa.
 
After the pandemic hit us, one trend that has emerged is that consumers are looking at convenience. This is evident in the growth of packaged foods and snacks category too.
 
Secondly, the Government has helped too. Certain state Governments have reduced excise taxes on alcohol which has made premium brands more accessible.
 
When it comes to ready-to-drink alcohol consumption abroad, many opt for it because of the convenience it offers when consumers are sitting in public areas such as a beach or a park. With this not allowed in India, do you think consumers will opt to buy ready-to-drink whiskey?
 
In-home consumption is driving the category currently. On-premise consumption has also bounced back strongly, but major growth is coming from the in-home category.
 
The demand for time has gone up with a mixture of working from home as well as household tasks. So, with time being of the essence, we do believe there’s scope for this category to grow in this market.
 
How will the drink be marketed in India?
 
The first bit is building awareness because this format doesn’t exist in India. A lot of our effort and investment is towards making sure we are making it visible inside the outlets.
 
The premise of this drink is that the consumer should get it chilled. That means we are leveraging existing refrigeration in outlets as well as promoting our Jack and Cola branded chillers.
 
We have outlets in Goa, with wall installations of empty cans. The whole idea is to create visibility. We are seeing people taking selfies with that wall can. Consumers love engaging with Jack Daniel. We are one of the most engaged digital whiskey brands in India in terms of social mentions and searches.
 
 
The other big piece in terms of marketing is promoting it on social media.
 
So, with that, we have retail and social media covered for now. 
 
Once events start (and we’re hopeful they start soon), they will be an ideal opportunity to take it out to consumers and get trials.
 
Markets like Goa have seen the product already. When will it launch pan-India?
 
For now, it’s Goa and Delhi. We plan to launch in Haryana, Telangana and Bengaluru by next month.
 
What would your TG be for this drink? Is it different from the traditional JD consumer?
 
The thing that works for a brand like Jack Daniel’s is that it's versatile. It's very popular too. I’ve heard that it’s a brand that's relevant for bikers and bankers.
 
In India, with this drink, we will have consumers looking to consume this on occasions that would be considered non-whiskey. With this, we can enter the audience that’s looking to be refreshed, which otherwise looks for a beer. The affordability of this format would make us more relevant for the younger audience in the legal drinking age.
 
How much of Jack Daniel’s sales do you expect to come through this drink?
 
There’s no goal in mind right now. We’ll learn over time and find out. The category doesn't exist in India. We expect it to become popular because of our global experience. In 2020, it was the fastest-growing category globally for the category as well as Brown Forman.
 
We’re seeing other entrants in the space too now, which I think will help the category evolve. We are excited about what we have seen in Goa and Delhi so far and are cautiously optimistic.