What brings Royal Stag back to MTV Unplugged for the 6th consecutive year?

By Anirban Roy Choudhury , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | December 01, 2017
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We spoke to Raja Banerji, AVP, Marketing, Pernod Ricard India.

MTV Unplugged is an iconic moment in every singer/band's career. The series which originally started in the US was first aired in India on MTV in 2011. Since then, the show has done six seasons and is now in its seventh. MTV has already announced the lineup for Season 7 which includes Vishal Bhardwaj, Shankar Mahadevan, Farhan Akhtar, Papon, Monali Thakur, and Armaan and Amal Malik. Starting December 9, Viacom18's music and youth channel will air Season 7, every Saturday at 8:00 PM.

Shankar Mahadevan, Siddharth and Shivam Mahadevan at the launch of Royal Stag Barrel Select MTV Unplugged L to R: Shankar Mahadevan, Siddharth and Shivam Mahadevan at the launch of Royal Stag Barrel Select MTV Unplugged

In the early 90s, MTV Unplugged was the premier stage where bands and singers from all across the globe could exhibit their acoustic skills. Each 60-minute episode featured a singer/band performing several songs (including covers). Many later sold their episode as an album; Eric Clapton's 'Unplugged' is one of the most famous. In India, MTV's Unplugged has travelled far on the backs of Rabbi Shergill's 'Bullah Ki Jaana', Susheela Raman's 'Yeh Mera Dewaanapan' and bands like Euphoria, Indian Ocean and most recently artists like AR Rahman and Shreya Ghoshal. Over the last seven years, MTV India has aired over 50 episodes (including Season Best) of the Indian edition.

For the sixth consecutive year, Pernod Ricard's Seagram's Royal Stag Barrel Select Whiskey has associated itself with the property. The association helps Pernod establish Royal Stag Barrel Select as a youth brand, according to Raja Banerji, "... because it addresses the key passion points of the youth," he explains. Banerji further ads, "It also helps to drive the brand experience of - 'Step up to Perfection' - through music being played in the 'Unplugged' format."

But why associate with it so often? "To get the implicit and explicit meaning which some associate with a specific brand name, it requires having a lengthier association. The long-standing association with MTV has helped us connect with the right audience in the right manner," Banerji responds.

Raja Banerji Raja Banerji

Raj Nayak Raj Nayak

Ferzad Palia Ferzad Palia

Liquor brands associating with music is one of the most common occurrences; Bacardi does NH7, Dewar's has its Dewarists and Royal Stag associates with Unplugged; but where is the connect? "Music has the power to touch the hearts, minds and souls of the people by cutting across boundaries and key passion points for youth. The events and associations always exhibit brand experience which helps to build a stronger association with the target audience. This association also aims at touching the hearts of the target audience through the musical perfectionists performing unplugged," answers Banerji.

Raj Nayak, COO, Viacom18, in a media statement was very upbeat about the channel and the new season. He says, "Since the time of its inception, MTV has created a differentiated positioning for itself. It is the ultimate authority on music and everything youth related. The brand is known for creating unique and legendary music-related properties and Unplugged is one such property. It has gained a massive fan-following because of its presentation of music in its rawest form through rich performances by an exemplary lineup of artists. This is a show that people wait for with a lot of anticipation every year and we aim to continue to deliver quality content and rule the hearts of our fans with Season 7 of Royal Stag Barrel Select MTV Unplugged."

Ferzad Palia, Head, Youth, Music and English Entertainment, Viacom18 echoed Nayak's sentiment, "Year on year we have been surpassing audience expectations and surprising ourselves with each new season of Unplugged. The latest season features a unique and beautiful confluence of soul-stirring vocals and interesting musical arrangements doing away with anything that distracts from what is pure. This year as well, the audience will be privy to a great lineup of artists who will be transforming some of their biggest musical numbers to the unimaginable, in a more vulnerable and intimate setting."

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