Teacher's turns to Kipling's 'If'

By Ashwini Gangal , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | February 26, 2014
In its latest campaign, premium spirits brand, Teacher's, salutes the spirit of achievement by revisiting Rudyard Kipling's famous poem 'If'. The campaign is conceptualised by Publicis India.

Premium spirits company Beam Inc has launched a new campaign for its flagship scotch brand Teacher's. Titled 'The Light Is Within', the effort celebrates self-belief and determination.

Teacher's TVC

The campaign serves to position Teacher's as the preferred choice for those who see themselves as conversant and well-informed achievers. The film features known personalities from different walks of life, including Indian actress Kittu Gidwani, who narrate lines from 'If', Rudyard Kipling's iconic piece of literature (1909). The campaign has been conceptualised by Publicis India.

Neeraj Kumar, director, marketing, Beam India, tells afaqs! that in the Indian market, Teacher's has been successful in positioning itself on the back of the "self-belief and achievement thought", one that has begun inspiring markets around the world. The brand, we learn, is looking to adopt the same language at the global level.

"We will look at using this thought around relevant markets, globally," says Kumar, clarifying that though a lot of global work is being developed based on this Indian campaign, it is still a work in progress idea and exactly which markets it will be aired across, is yet to be decided. "This creative may or may not be relevant in other markets in its exact shape; some extracts might be used," he says.

The commercial, which is being promoted as a TV and digital film, has been shot in Thailand. Currently on air are 45 and 30 second versions of the film. Zenith Optimedia is the media agency on board.

High Spirits?

To ND Badrinath, founding partner, Aqumena, a Mumbai-based marketing consultancy, 'The light...', though primarily a branding idea, also "focuses on the colour and clarity of the whiskey."

ND Badrinath

Mahuya Chaturvedi

"Teacher's is a premium brand meant for mature adults, not partying yuppies. So the tone had to be classy and measured," he says, about the overall treatment of the film, "Kipling's poem is a classic masterpiece saying exactly what the brand wants to. It's a great combination."

The film, he says is well directed. "Good expressions, good lines for each person, and the right tone of quiet self-assurance. I liked the bit including the woman - not eye-candy but with the same tone of self-assurance as the men," he says.

According to Badrinath, sometimes the surrogate product used in alcohol ads (the brand extension in this film is music CDs), can actually add value. "In this case, it hasn't," he says, "Maybe they could have thought of a more relevant surrogate. Say, achievement awards or some amber-coloured crystal objects. This may be worth some brainstorming by the client and agency."

Category Codes

According to Mahuya Chaturvedi, managing partner, Cogito Consulting, independent consulting division of the Draftfcb Ulka Group, Teacher's as a brand, connects with its audience at the strategy and brand promise level.

She feels, in India, the 'can do' attitude adopted by Teacher's, works, given the prevalent economic and political uncertainty. "Now, more than ever before, the Indian has to look within and draw on his/her inner strength," she says, appreciating the inclusion of women in the narrative. "With the rise of working women, they automatically come into the brand's fold of consumers," comments Chaturvedi.

Lending perspective on the liquor category, she talks about how, functionality aside, each sub-category of liquor has developed its own characteristic appeal or "codes".

Here's her analysis: Vodka seeks to appeal to party-savvy youth. Therefore Smirnoff shifted from its famous 'Through the Bottle' campaign and took to targeting the youth. White Mischief, known for young fun and flirty imagery, sponsors the IPL cheerleaders.

Bacardi Rum, the "stronger" drink, appeals to consumers' uncompromising will and passion. Little wonder then, rum ads are often about beating the odds. In its recent 'Untamable' campaign, Bacardi brings forth its own tale of survival and urges the drinker to live boldly.

Whisky/scotch, a more "individualistic drink", touches a deeper chord of self-reflection and self-fulfillment; capturing this is Johnnie Walker's Classic 'Keep Walking' campaign (1999). The promise of continuous progression works for the brand.

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