Raahil Chopra
Feb 27, 2012

Q&A: Bhaichung Bhutia and Carlsberg’s Subodh Marwah

Subodh Marwah, marketing director, Carlsberg India, talks about Carlsberg’s marketing plans while Bhaichung Bhutia talks about the potential of the Indian football market

Q&A: Bhaichung Bhutia and Carlsberg’s Subodh Marwah

Subodh Marwah, marketing director, Carlsberg India, and retired Indian footballer Bhaichung Bhutia are looking to promote Euro 2012 in India. Campaign India caught up with the duo to talk about football’s potential in India and Carlsberg’s marketing plans.

CI: What are Carlsberg's marketing plans in India?

Subodh Marwah (SM): The cornerstone of our marketing plans is around Euro 2012. Carlsberg is a premium brand and we want to establish premium associations because we believe that adds on to our brand. When we look at our marketing campaigns and plans they are determined by what our consumers needs are. When we looked into that, one of our consumers' favourite activities is to watch sport. Within that, going out to pubs or calling friends over and watching sport is clearly a big part our TG. We're also seeing that football is rapidly emerging as the sport of choice. India's always been a cricket frenzy country, but increasingly in the metros we see people wearing football jerseys and getting out to watch games . We globally have a football sponsorship of which goes back to over 40 years and it was time to bring that to India.

CI: How is Carlsberg going to promote Euro 2012?

SM: We have a campaign running for the next six months. It starts with the trophy being shown in Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata. From here we move on to what we call the 'Face to offer' contest where we are giving consumers to win tickets to watch a quarter final at Euro 2012. Starting next month we're launching a fan challenge on Facebook where one lucky winner from India will give the man of the match trophy in the second semi final at the tournament. Then during the tournament we'll promote it through screenings, and merchandise to increase enthusiasm. We're partners of Euro and will be placed behind the goals at the stadium too. 

CI: What kind of TV ratings do you expect from Euro 2012?

SM: It's difficult to put a number but when we see the ratings of the previous World Cup and the Barclays Premier League, when a team like Liverpool or Manchester United plays, they get fantastic ratings. They won't compare to cricket overall, but when we look at our TG (SEC A, 25+), football does incredibly well. The delta factor of the ratings of football is overstepping everything else. The delta factor for cricket is decreasing (other than the World Cup).

CI: Are you'll looking to associate with any other sport in India?

SM: We're looking to associate with is Golf. Golf is a premium association where we can hit our TG, but football is our main target here.

CI: What's Euro 2012 doing in India?

Bhaichung Bhutia (BB): The Euro's are as big as the World Cup in India. In India people only follow European leagues and every fan will know the players when they step into the field. This doesn't happen with a Copa America or the Asian Cup. The viewership will be as close as the World Cup viewership.

CI: What potential does football have in India?

BB: We're seeing lots of European clubs trying to get Indian associations. We've already seen Blackburn and Bayern coming to India. There's a huge potential in terms of marketing for European clubs, but there's a long way to go for Indian football. Indian football needs to make itself an attractive commercial entity. I own a football club and I know how difficult is to get sponsors. I'm trying to make my club United Sikkim a commercial entity too. It's important to market our league structure better. But the good thing is that Indian football can only grow.

CI: Your take on the Premier League Soccer?

BB: It might be difficult, as it's getting delayed. It has been initiated by a state association and not by the AIFF, so I see roadblocks. Getting retired footballers like Robert Pires and Cannavaro is a big move ahead, but I don't see the tournament taking place. The AIFF is considering starting a tournament themselves, which they may just start next year.


Campaign India

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