Dewar's marketing strategy of marrying content and experiential is working well, says Bacardi India's Anshuman Goenka

In an engaging interview with, Goenka, the Marketing Head, reveals the content play for Dewar's and says content initiatives have helped the brand increase its volume and market share

Akansha Srivastava
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Anshuman Goenka

Bacardi India’s scotch whiskey brand Dewar’s says its content initiatives are not only building brand affinity and driving its brand message of ‘double is better’ but also helping it increase its market share.

In an interview with after the launch of Season 2 of the web series ‘You Got Chef’d!’, Anshuman Goenka, Head of Marketing, Bacardi India, said, “We got 14.5 billion views on the series in the last season across five episodes. More than half-a-million consumers actually commented and engaged with us. While this helped us plan season 2 better, it definitely converted into volumes and market share for us across India.”

The alcobev brand’s marketing strategy marrying content and experiential efforts is really working well, Goenka said. “We want to scale this up in 2020 so that we continue to drive the double-digit growth in the next year.”


Being an alcobev brand, why partner with food content platform Gobble of Pocket Aces? Generally, alcobev brands want to associate themselves with events and music properties.

Scotch as a category is a very big opportunity in the country and at the same time, it is also a cluttered space. There are already so many existing scotch brands in India doing different marketing activities. Being a late entrant in the market, we needed to do things differently. We want to be seen as a new, cool and fun millennial choice of scotch. Globally, Dewar’s is known to have the functional benefit of being double-aged for extra smoothness. This makes Dewar a great liquor brand and a far more enjoyable experience as opposed to competition.

A lot of new-age millennials are opting for scotch as their go-to category as opposed to light spirits earlier. We realised that scotch is getting younger. Therefore, we position Dewar’s in a very fun and engaging way. We also saw that food really popped out as one of the key trends among new-age millennials. Food is increasingly experimented with among brands across platforms. Like this, we have tried to get into the food culture and have tried to give it a fun playful take.

There are many other food-based content platforms. Why partner Gobble specifically?

Gobble has one of the highest reach among our target audience. The kind of content that Gobble publishes is not in a very serious genre. It’s more playful, experimentative and targets the millennials mostly. The vibe and tonality of Gobble was a great marriage of the vibe and tonality of brand Dewar’s.

What ROI did you get from the partnership?

We got 14.5 billion views on the series in the last season across five episodes. More than half-a-million consumers commented and engaged with us. This helped us plan season 2 better. It converted into volumes and market share for us across India. According to IWRS data, which is the global benchmark for beverage alcohol data and intelligence, Dewar’s is among the fastest-growing brands in the country.

How do you realise that content partnership is driving your goals?

When consumers engage with the brand with comments and posts, we realise that the content is actually building brand affinity and driving our brand message of double is better.

Which are your other content initiatives?

We look at content in three ways. We believe in curating content. Our signature platform is Gobble where we have a show ‘You got chef’d!’, which we do once a year. It’s all about bringing to life food and high ball pairing along with the message of double is better. In the series, one can see double hosts, double dishes and a lot of playful banter thrown in. At the heart of it, we are known for double-aged extra smoothness. We really want to popularise that and make it easy for the consumers to understand from the hashtag #doubleisbetter.

The second pillar is the brand coming on board with the existing content pieces that are quite topical in nature. For example, we partnered with content creator Janice Sequeira, who has a show called ‘Social Media Stars’. We integrated the brand as an ongoing conversation in the show. It is more about us leveraging the existing properties.

Third, one must have heard about alcohol brands always talking about the legacy and the production process. We wanted to make it Dewar’s style, i.e. make it fun, quirky and playful. Earlier this year, in summer, when Scotland is beautiful, we sent Jeet Rana, chef Ranveer Brar and Rannvijay Singh to an educational trip to Abelferdy, which is the home of the brand Dewar’s in Scotland. Over there they spent a few days at the distillery, going through experiences that the distillery provides. These influencers created a lot of content around that where it became a lot more fun. It became more engaging against a brand directly showing their production processes.

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A lot of alcobev brands tend to act as publishers over a period of time because of their focus on content. Why have you refrained from this strategy?

We have taken a conscious call of taking the best of both. We largely focus on influencers and content creators to create and publish content for us. We understand that they have got a far bigger following than the brand. Their following is organic and so we know we are getting into the right audiences in the right occasions. The way they can bring around our philosophy live is far more culturally relevant than what we can do. They understand consumer, content and culture. For us, by doing this, we get the best of all these.

We are a global brand and already have a global social media handle managed by the global team. If the consumers choose to search for the brand on the internet, they will have access to our global pages, which will anyway have a lot of such global branded content.

We obviously don’t have the luxury of the kind of investment that competition has. They already have a scalable business in India. We have just begun. Therefore, curation works best for us as of now.

What is your take on the state of influencer-led content strategy? Can a content piece not survive without being amplified by the influencers?

We don’t use influencers to advertise about the brand. Therefore, we call them creators and not influencers. Whatever content we have done since our launch has been jointly curated by the creators and us. For us, the key is curation, whether we work with curators or influencers.

The first step is that the person that you work with must embody the values of the brand. This is how we choose whom we work with. It is also really important for the creators to understand what the brand is all about. We have Ranveer Brar as the host of the You Got Chef’d show. He understands the brand well because he has visited the distillery in Scotland and knows the legacy of the brand. When he talks about the brand, it is genuine and a story as opposed to an advertisement piece of content. I think that is really what makes the difference. Each piece of content is thoughtfully ideated along with the creator. You won’t see one single post on three publishing platforms or creators’ handles.

Which social media platform suits the brand the most?

It is a combination for us, ranging from short-form content on Instagram and long-form content on YouTube. Instagram is a natural choice given the food culture we want to leverage. It is one of the biggest platforms that is fuelling. YouTube helps us to get into long-form content where we are able to do a lot of things to bring out our messaging alive. Facebook helps provide reach, but a brand like Dewar’s, where we want to be known as the pioneer within the food culture, fetches more prominence on Instagram.

Anything you couldn’t do in 2019 through content and aim to achieve in 2020?

The name of the game is consistency. All our competition brands have been in the country for decades. We have tried to make a difference in the food culture space. We are trying to promote highballs as drink strategy because that is trending globally. Our marketing strategy marrying content and experiential efforts is really working well for us. We want to scale this up in 2020 so that we continue to drive the double-digit growth in the next year.

What are the challenges that the brand faces in its content marketing journey?

Understanding and identifying the right creator and influencer, to spending time in briefing and immersing that person into the brand is a task. In comparison to a one-time effort that you put into briefing the agency, here we are duplicating the efforts every time because the name of the game is curation. That’s a lot harder for us to go through. But when you see those efforts coming to life and see the consumers’ love the brand is getting on social, it is all worth it.

Bacardi India Dewar Anshuman Goenka