In India, Carlsberg India Limited that entered the Indian market in May 2006 bottles it. Tuborg was launched in India by the Carlsberg group in July 2009 with a creative campaign having a tagline “the fun starts here!! ” . The beer instantly gained popularity among the party going premium customers. The campaigns targeted urban youth as its primary segment and focused on the ‘thump’ effect – which underlined the brand essence of music and fun. In consistency with its India strategy of tapping the unexplored market first, Carlsberg initially launched Tuborg in the north, west and southwest of India.
In the initial phase, the company strategically avoided intense competition in Southern part of the country that accounts for more than 45% of total beer consumption in India and focused on building its brand in rest of the country where it saw high growth potential. As of now, Tuborg has a pan India presence and riding on its popularity, Carlsberg is making strong inroads in India’s urban markets as it has already toppled SABMiller to become the 2nd largest player in Delhi.
Clearly, the global brand has made strong inroads in the Indian beer market in a small time and looks all set to become the premium brand of choice for the urban segment. In May 2012, as a part of its global enhancement program, Tuborg launched its new visual identity in India. In consistency with its brand essence of music and fun and its mission of being the obvious choice for young adults, the new tagline is “Open for more”! The new brand identity features a new logo, new tagline and a new bottle.
The new logo, which is inclined to horizontal at an angle of 62. degrees, is termed as the ‘Tipping Point’ with a claim that the first bottle of liquid leaves the new bottle at this angle. The logo becomes horizontal when the bottle is tilted for drinking, making it more noticeable for an observer. The brand revamp is supported by a new TV advertisement and a social media campaign. As the advertising of alcoholic beverages is banned in India since September 2000, promoting the new visual identity on TV became a challenge for the company. Established liquor brands like Kingfisher, Bacardi, Imperial Blue, Bagpiper, Royal Challenge etc. re using surrogates like Calendars, IPL teams, Achievement Awards, Soda and the most common, Mineral Water.
A common characteristic of such products like the calendar or the soda is that most of the times such products are never marketed or their availability is very limited. These advertisements call the attention of viewers towards the liquor products that are being advertised in a surrogate manner. A challenge for surrogate advertisement is to ensure that the viewer can understand the meaning of such advertisements and can relate to the real product, which is being surrogated.
Hence it becomes easier for an established brand like a kingfisher to gain the most from surrogate advertising. For a new entrant like Tuborg, creating a surrogate TVC which is powerful and effective was a big challenge and thus it came up with the mother of all surrogate products – Tuborg Zero, a non-alcoholic malt beverage, with a matching tagline – “Open for fun”!. The bottle design, logo design and even the tagline have striking similarities to the new visual identity of Tuborg. The TVC shows a group of fun loving youth opening the Tuborg ‘ring pull’ cap and changing the ambience around into a nightclub.
The Music, the Party thought and the Ambience in the TVC conveys the right message that Tuborg Zero can be opened for fun at parties and other enjoyable moments. The advertisement was launched on 15th June and became quite a regular during the Euro Cup telecasts thus leaving a strong impact on the youth segment residing in tier 1 and tier 2 cities. Thus, by popularizing the new visual identity in its target segment, the campaign was able to fulfill its objective. Owing to the advertisement and its connect with the target group, it is highly likely that the product would be a great success.
But an analysis of the Tuborg Zero product, its price and placement presents an altogether different picture. Currently, the non-alcoholic malt beverage is available in a 500 ml bottle and is priced at Rs. 100, a tad too expensive for a new customer to try it on impulse. Moreover, the brand is available only in upscale markets of Mumbai, Hyderabad and Pune. An important point to notice is that Tuborg Zero is an India specific product in the Carlsberg portfolio and has no presence what so ever in the global market.
This product finds no mention on the company’s India website. Quite obviously, the company is happy taking Tuborg Zero as a surrogate product and does not want this to be a mass favorite. This leads one to think why so much hoopla over a product which is hardly present in the market? And the answer shows the marketing genius of the idea. In the shadow of Tuborg Zero, Carlsberg has successfully positioned its Tuborg portfolio as an obvious choice for young adults who savor the taste of beer.
With an identical look, theme and tagline, Tuborg Zero acts only as a surrogate for the Tuborg portfolio. The same concept of surrogate marketing has been used on social networking as well. The Tuborg Zero page at Facebook has more than 48,000 likes and the page actively engages its young and urban audience by posting content related to Western Music, Hollywood Stars and youthful, eccentric quotes. Euromonitor, a leader in strategy research for consumer markets, expects the Indian beer market to be a whopping $9 Billion by 2016.
UB group and SABMiller Plc. are currently the prominent players and giants like Anheuser- Busch InBev and Carlsberg are all trying to grab a pie of it. The Tuborg Zero surrogate campaign has certainly given a head start to Carlsberg and the global brand looks all set on its way to become the go to brand for the beer consuming metro population of the county. But the competition, for sure, will hit back with some more spice. The market dynamics certainly look promising, lets wait and watch who comes to the top in the time to come!