Alokananda Chakraborty

O&M and Orchard to handle Shaw Wallace Breweries' brands

While Orchard Advertising will handle Royal Challenge and Knock Out, O&M will work on Castle Lager and Haywards 5000

Shaw Wallace Breweries (SWB), the joint venture between SABMiller subsidiary Mysore Breweries and Shaw Wallace, has decided on the two agencies that will handle its four beer brands. While Orchard Advertising, Bangalore, will handle Royal Challenge and Knock Out, O&M, Bangalore, will work on Castle Lager and Haywards 5000. Confirming the move to agencyfaqs!, Vinod Giri, director, marketing, SWB, said, "We haven't decided if we want to have an agency of record on board at all. As of now, the media duties would be handled by the respective creative agencies."

agencyfaqs! diehards would recall our story Shaw Wallace Breweries to ‘rationalise' agency portfolio (August 1, 2002) where we had stated that the company has called for a pitch presumably to "rationalise" its agency portfolio. agencyfaqs! was told that the move was aimed to cut down the number of agency partners from four to two.

Prior to this move, the SWB brands were aligned in the following manner. While O&M handled Castle Lager, Leo Burnett managed Knock Out, Saatchi & Saatchi worked on Royal Challenge and Haywards was in the custodianship of Lowe.

To put things in perspective, SWB was given shape in May this year, when SABMiller struck a deal to acquire 50 per cent stake and management control of the brewing business of Shaw Wallace & Co Ltd. SABMiller India routed the acquisition through its subsidiary, Mysore Breweries (MBL), leading to a 50:50 merger with the brewing business of Shaw Wallace. The merged entity, Shaw Wallace Breweries, holds the combined brewing interests of MBL and Shaw Wallace even as the operational management control rest with the former.

The strategic deal placed the joint venture company as a strong second player after the UB Group in the domestic beer market. In terms of marketing spends too Shaw Wallace follows the UB Group as a close No 2. While the exact marketing spends of the company could not be ascertained - as bulk of it is routed through below-the-line communication - what is certain is that SWB's new agency partners would have their task cut out. As Giri pointed out, "We view agencies as long-term partners rather than vendors and expect them to passionately provide a guiding hand to the brands."

Talking about the way ahead, Nitish Mukherjee, executive director, Orchard, said, "The two brands pose a huge opportunity for us. That is because till some time ago, the category was synonymous with one or two brands. But now the most important issue here is the presence of a plethora of brands. So the big task would be to understand the consumer mindset as well as one can, and work out the brand architecture and target audience accordingly. All this is important for this category as products here are part lifestyle, part indulgence, and have a lot to do with individual preferences. With no scope for mass media advertising, the big challenge will be to define the brands with whatever means available."

Prateek Srivastava, head of office, O&M, Bangalore, added, "Castle is a new entrant in the Indian market. For this brand, we would try to communicate the message that it's a great beer and try and get more and more people to try it out. Haywards, on its part, is an established brand. The aim would be to strengthen its equity." © 2003 agencyfaqs!

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