Anupama Sajeet
Dec 21, 2023

Bisleri gets Deepika Padukone to 'drink it up', with a focus on going global

Ahead of the launch of Bisleri International's campaign featuring its first-ever global brand ambassador, Deepika Padukone, its head of marketing, Tushar Malhotra discusses the company's shift in marketing strategy

Bisleri has announced actor Deepika Padukone as its first-ever global brand ambassador and rolled out a campaign featuring the actor.
The mineral water major with an aim to double its turnover by FY2026, is setting its sights on newer markets, having marked its maiden foray into the overseas market earlier this year with the launch of its packaged drinking water in the United Arab Emirates.
We caught up with Tushar Malhotra, head - marketing, Bisleri International, ahead of its global brand ambassador announcement to uncover details about its latest campaign and find out what else is brewing at the beverage company.

Edited excerpts:
What’s the objective behind the campaign and TVC launch?
The message is simple: drinking water is fun and we have three objectives for it. 
We want to lead the narrative on hydration. We've been hydrating the country for the last 50 years and we want to take this forward. Secondly, this campaign also contemporises the brand and is a perfect evolution of communication. And thirdly, we're looking to strengthen our youth connect and brand love with the Gen Zs and their cohort. 
Getting Deepika Padukone on board as our first global brand ambassador is a huge part of that. And what we've done with the campaign is a remix of ‘jhoom jhoom jhoom baba’, the foot-tapping song from the 80s. It's been shot by Prakash Verma from Nirvana films and is very cool, stylish, and contemporary.
What is the thought behind the brand’s first-ever global brand ambassador announcement, and what prompted the choice of Deepika Padukone?
Padukone is a global style icon and a youth icon. We resonate with her values and the work that she does, and this makes her a perfect fit with the brand. 
When we looked at the communication strategy and what we wanted to do, we thought who better to spread this message of hydration with fun than Deepika? Additionally, it's a symbiotic relationship between her and Bisleri as well, and a perfect evolution for the brand's communication. 

What is the brand’s go-to-market strategy for moving away from being a brand that quenches thirst to being synonymous with hydration that ensures performance?
We did a deep dive into the consumer aspect, and when we were talking to the consumers and especially the youth, two things came across, especially in a post-pandemic world. 
The basic need for people is to stay healthy. And to do that, the top two things on their list were to exercise and to have water. And that's where the genesis - the strong foundation of hydration came across. We've been on this journey of talking about hydration from a performance angle with our ‘carry your game’ campaign and sports marketing program that we have in place. But now with ‘drink it up’ we wanted to make hydration a part of everyday life, as one celebrates the little moments in life. 
For that message and for the delivery of that message, getting Deepika on board as our ambassador ticks all the boxes over there.
It’s the first time a brand has spoken about hydration in such a fun way. People often forget to have water and this campaign will remind them to have water again and again and make drinking water a fun activity. 
From a media campaign evolution perspective, this campaign will be seen across media. It's going to be on TV, digital, YouTube, Instagram, influencers and OOH. 
Moving forward in a few months we plan to feature Padukone on the packaging as well. The message of ‘drink it up’ is going to be populated across all mediums.
Bisleri ventured into the overseas market early this year by rolling out its packaged drinking water in the United Arab Emirates. What opportunities does the overseas market present for an Indian beverage company? Has the move paid off or is it early days?
UAE is our first venture into being a global brand. It’s also a very interesting and exciting market for us because of the presence of a large number of Indian expatriates over there. The brand recollection for Bisleri is spot on. 
We just launched so we'll see how the expansion goes but yes, our ambition is to become an international and global brand. We started the journey with UAE. We'll watch how the journey goes and then grasp which markets to add on in the midterm.
You mentioned that youth are a big part of your consumer demographic and your TG. How do you plan to build a connect with them? If we talk about your marketing medium, which are the media that you're targeting for that?
We do a lot of digital content to connect with the youth. That was an important aspect of the ‘carry your game’ campaign - to talk to the youth about sports and performance. We have taken hydration partnerships with four IPL teams and six ISL teams.We were also the hydration partner for the national games, ultimate table tennis, and the Commonwealth Games. So we're looking at everything - be it cricket, football or athletics. Our sports marketing program is very robust and most of our tie-ups are very long-term. From a youth perspective, there are multiple conversations which are happening right now. This campaign with Padukone will be by far our biggest conversation.
The second aspect we're talking to the youth about is sustainability with a ‘greener promise’ campaign. We're reaching out to a lot of universities. We have a program called ‘borders for change’ which is about recycling plastic. We also have ‘nayi umeed’ (new hopes) which is about rainwater harvesting, so Bisleri is an organisation that's plastic-neutral and water-positive as well, and that is a communication we are having with the youth. We've tied up with several universities for their recycling program.
Thirdly, when we look today at the buying habits, especially for youth, it’s very digital. So we have our app called Bisleri@doorstep, which is doing pretty well. We launched a campaign called ‘Bisleri apne aap aayega’, which was to talk to Gen Zs and millennials about the convenience of ordering Bisleri at home. We are doing extremely well in quick commerce as well. 
Campaign India

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