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Thursday, September 9, 1999

Signature Whisky in nips and pints 

K Baburajan  
Bangalore, Sept 8: The Vijay Mallya-promoted McDowell & Co will uncork its Signature brand of whisky in nips (180 ml) and pints (375 ml) in October. The price of the new range would be in proportion to the price of the existing portfolio. Signature whisky, which has been going through a repositioning phase, is currently available only in quarts (750 ml).

The company had recently reduced the price of the product by almost Rs 100 per quart to bring it down from the super premium segment to the premium-plus sector. According to industry sources, now priced between Rs 375 to Rs 450 per quart, Signature whisky would compete with the already established Royal Challenge.

The brand was earlier positioned in the super premium segment (Rs 475 to Rs 550) along with brands like Antiquity, Blenders Pride, Heritage, etc, and had a marketshare of about 26 per cent. The company sold 19,000 cases in 1998-99, up from 11,000 cases in 1997-98, a growth of 73 per cent.

The repositioning has been possible due to aninnovation in packaging where the erstwhile metal canister is being replaced by a cardboard one allowing a significant saving in packaging costs, all of which would be passed on to the consumer.

``Signature whisky is positioned as a `sign of success'. Though the company had slashed the prices by almost Rs 100 per quart, we have not diluted the brand. Instead, we worked out a repackaging strategy,'' McDowell divisional vice president Ashwin Malik said.

The UB spirits division flagship firm McDowell has set a sales target of 50,000 cases (worth about Rs 9 crore) of this brand during fiscal 1999-2000. The repositioning of the brand has been in line with a research conducted by the leading agency Sofres Mode. The research findings of the agency revealed that current top-end consumers are favourable to a new offering; Signature Rare whisky is seen as better than all brands in the segment, it scored favourably over all other premium segment blends.

Malik said the company was targeting consumers with a monthlyincome of Rs 15,000 plus and in the age of group of 25 years and above. ``The ad line `the sign of success' perfectly defines the brand re-positioning. It is positioned as young, successful and dynamic is meant for those who achieved success from their own experience,'' he added.

In a bid to build awareness among customers, the company has increased its advertising investment five-fold. It is also directly focusing on institutional sales, including bars, clubs, hotels and restaurants in the country.

Copyright © 1999 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.


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