“The balance between alcohol consumption at home and outside the home will change dramatically”

As the country gradually recovers from the aftermath of two devastating waves of Covid-19, thanks to ongoing vaccinations, consumers are now trying to return to pre-pandemic modes of socialization and celebration. Diageo’s scotch whiskey brand Johnnie Walker recently launched a new #RevibeTheNight campaign with the aim of re-energizing the country’s after-hour culture through its As part of the campaign, the brand brings together well-known music artists. beloved like Divine, Ritviz, Lisa Mishra, Taba Chake and popular indie groups like When Chai Met Toast and Mad Boy Mink, among others, perform live in iconic community spaces in India. Abhishek Shahabadi, Vice President & Head of Portfolio, Scotch & Premium whites, Diageo India, talks about the ideas behind the campaign, reviving the after-hours culture, changes in consumer spending habits, the marketing strategy and more.

Please tell us about the insight of ainspiration behind your new ‘Johnnie Walker #RevibeTheNight’ campaign.

Before the lockdown, nightlife culture flourished in India in famous community centers. They eventually became a haven for individuals and were motivated by the culture of live music and exciting performances which created their own vibe. With the gradual return to normality, we found that the need to relive those nights was always more important. In keeping with Johnnie Walker’s philosophy of moving forward towards the advancement of the community, we wanted to rejuvenate after work hours through musical acts that stimulate business and conversation around the brand. Through #ReVibeTheNight, Johnnie Walker aims to reconnect with this community by bringing them music curated by artists who have always captivated crowds with their unique live experiences. The campaign aims to achieve this goal by recreating the after-hours culture in these iconic spaces in key markets across the country.

What are the goals and metrics you have set for this campaign? As a global brand, how do you ensure that the brand’s ethics remain intact and consistent?

With the #RevibeTheNight campaign – Johnnie Walker opens a new chapter in India to inspire people to keep walking and regenerating by socializing as a community, albeit responsibly, as the world gradually reopens after 18 difficult months.

Nightlife culture is more than just a nightlife space in India. The public wants to return to their shelters, rebuild their bonds, relive experiences and gain new perspectives that allow them to move forward towards a larger life goal. Johnnie Walker’s #RevibeTheNight is a step in that direction, to become a social connector allowing these communities to rediscover this vibe and spend time with music after the hustle and bustle of their work day. By collaborating with the trending musical sensations of the country, we aim to create a collective experience that transcends all borders for people to re-establish their connection with this culture.

Diageo collaborates with many artists and brands that resonate with young people. What are the synergies involved and how can we aim to exploit them?

When we drafted the main requirements for artists to lead the campaign, the names that came to our mind fluently were Divine, Ritviz, and Lisa Mishra, among many others. These three artists have built their own spaces within the industry, having captivated crowds through barriers, and are considered pioneers in the country. Divine is a sincere rap artist who not only carved his place in the Indian rap industry but also paved the way for others to follow. Ritviz is an extremely popular name today, who after popularizing a new style of Indian classical music has created its own niche avatar of a distinct and infectious sound that the country currently vibrates with. Lisa Mishra, a rare find with her own story of growing up as she went from a viral internet sensation to one of the country’s most important and successful singers. All three artists resonate with the brand’s ethos moving forward and their success stories echo the philosophy and spirit of the Johnnie Walker brand.

During the pandemic, the Indian alcohol market underwent premiumization. How did it go for you? As a luxury brand, do you see any avenues on which you would like to capitalize?

There is a clear trend towards premiumization between categories and even within individual brands. As the wealth of the younger population increases, consumers are shifting to more premium offerings and choosing premium brands that provide a great experience of socializing and celebrating. This trend is driven by the need of consumers to improve their status and reflect their differentiated personality through such choices.

Within our scotch portfolio, we recently announced the complete makeover of our most iconic brand – Black Dog. The brand promises an exquisite blend of some of Scotland’s finest whiskeys for the next generation of whiskey enthusiasts and lovers.

Can you share some ideas on how alcohol consumption in India has changed after the pandemic?

As home alcohol consumption has increased in recent years, the home bar has been reinvented, with consumers becoming more involved in the category to try new ways to drink better. People are eager to start pleasing their taste buds again with drinking experiences that excite and delight. Occasional drinking opportunities increased significantly for high-end segments as consumers were able to pre-immunize against their favorite brands during their regular catch-ups. This trend is likely to continue and fuel the growth of premium drinks.

What has been the growth of domestic consumption and the growth of female drinkers and their preference?

Home use accounted for the bulk of consumption during the pandemic months and even now the incidence of home use has not returned to pre-pandemic levels. People have found a way to be entertained and have fun at home and this is something that will dramatically change the balance between home and out-of-home consumption. Consumption among women also experienced an upward trend during this period, driven by the discovery of new, more accessible ways of having spirits, especially whiskey.

Tell us about your marketing approach and your strategies to amplify the campaign.

The campaign has been launched and will run for two months as the takeover of Johnnie Walker town in India comes to life thanks to #RevibeTheNight. We’ve activated hotspots in metropolitan cities and tier 2 markets by performers who are used to captivating crowds with their unique live experiences. While the concerts went live, we also planned a digital campaign to launch a Reel challenge on Instagram focusing on the bespoke service for the campaign – the Johnnie Walker Red & Ginger. The video stars Ritviz and Lisa Mishra vibrating to the beat of a hook, on the new soundtrack created for the campaign as they cook up a refreshing Red & Ginger highball. The challenge was also launched for the public to join the trend created by some of the popular faces among influencers on Instagram.

In addition to this digital stage, the performance on the field will also be supported by cultural showcases and pop-ups hosted by new-age designers, flow artists, skateboarders, etc. to bring the elements of #RevibeTheNight to life with Johnnie Walker. The campaign uses various formats across various platforms, including various digital and social assets that are leveraged to achieve maximum reach.

Considering that the event takes place during an ongoing pandemic, what measures are you taking to ensure safety?

As responsible marketers, Diageo India and Johnnie Walker will ensure the safe execution of all field performances. #RevibeTheNight was scheduled at a time when the country entered the opening phase and consumers in major metropolises were doubly vaccinated. For the campaign, the brand ensured that the capacity of all sites and outlets met safety limits. The brand’s effort is to responsibly deliver the #RevibeTheNight experience to the public with security and protocols at the helm.

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