Nisha Qureshi

How Bisleri is utilising IPL and other sports, to revamp its brand positioning

Tushar Malhotra, head of marketing, Bisleri, talks about the brand’s new campaign and future plans.

Bisleri, the packaged drinking water brand, has revamped its brand positioning. The brand is partnering with various sports tournaments. It aims to reach out to audiences who’re conscious about their health and fitness, says Tushar Malhotra, head of marketing, Bisleri International. 

The brand recently unveiled a campaign, #CarryYourGame, which encourages youngsters to always keep themselves hydrated. The campaign features India’s top athletes. 

Marketing and branding efforts

The brand has also partnered with the Indian Premier League (IPL). It’s the ‘hydration partner’ for four IPL teams – Mumbai Indians, Rajasthan Royals, Delhi Capitals and Gujarat Titans. The brand has also launched limited-edition bottles for the IPL season that feature the faces of the most popular cricketers. 

Asked if sports is a category that the brand wants to partner with, Malhotra says, “We want to partner with all kinds of sports. We want people to build a connection between hydration, sports and health coming together with Bisleri.”

“The brand has been synonymous with packaged drinking water for over 50 years. Anyone who wants packaged drinking water, says, ‘Bisleri dena’. However, we want to move beyond that. We want a greater connection with youngsters and expand our market.” 

The brand also wants to expand to international markets. Malhotra reveals that it plans to expand to the UAE, and already has partners in place to execute it over the next 2-3 months. 

“We’ve also recently partnered with many movies in South India, like ‘RRR’, ‘PS1’ and ‘PS2’. This has created a lot of ‘local’ love for the brand. We will be doing a lot of Bollywood and international tie-ups.”

Malhotra describes #CarryYourGame as an integrated campaign that will have many legs. He says that the brand is not focussing on TV, and the media mix for the year is digital-first.  

“We will continue the campaign and partner with upcoming marathons and sporting events. Our media mix is going to be YouTube and Instagram-heavy.”

He says that apart from all the branding, one interesting thing that really works for the brand, is its almost 600 delivery trucks. They not only deliver the product across the country, but also act as a walking billboard for the brand. 

Packaged drinking water category

According to reports, Bisleri has a 32% share in the organised bottled water segment. The category is also dominated by players like Aquafina, Kinley and Bailey.

Malhotra says that while the classic ‘Bisleri’ brand performs the best, Vedica – the brand’s premium packaged water offering – also really work for them.

On what he thinks of the competition in the space, Malhotra says, “According to our research, the top of mind recall for everyone, when it comes to packaged drinking water, is Bisleri. We’re one of the strongest brands in the country.”

He adds that there’s been a lot of buoyancy in the packaged drinking water segment, post-COVID.

“There are a lot of tailwinds in the industry. There is buoyancy, as COVID is behind us and nobody wants to stay at home. Offices have opened up. It’s a great opportunity for our returnable jars/gallon categories.”

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