VAT 69 is an iconic scotch brand and was well known in the past. You could spot a bottle of VAT 69 in a lot of Bollywood movies. It was the preferred whiskey of villains, especially Pran. VAT 69 is a premium scotch with an impressive lineage. Very few people were aware of this because of its excessive Bollywood association. Diageo wanted to relaunch the VAT 69 brand in India and the brief was to rekindle the premium Scottish lineage. The route to be taken was experiential activations.
VAT 69 had an impressive brand story which went like this. William Sanderson had created 100 different blends of whiskey which was stored in as many VATS. Whiskey connoisseurs were invited to sample the blends and vote for the VAT with the best blend. It was the 69th VAT which won the favour of the experts and thus VAT 69 was born.
We brought this story alive through a combination of experiential and digital branding. A wall representing the 100 VATS was created at point of consumption outlets. The 69th VAT was highlighted in this wall. We created a small video on the birth of VAT69. These videos were loaded on tablets and promoters told the story of VAT69 using the same.
All good Scottish whiskeys have a recommended ritual to best appreciate them. This includes recommended food accompaniments and the 'best way to enjoy it' whether neat, with ice or water. VAT 69 has fruity and spicy flavours best brought out through complementing food accompaniments. In this case, experts recommended Ginger cake and Washington apples. This is in sharp contrast to the Indian palette used to masala peanuts and chicken tikka.
When the activations were executed, we were surprised to find Indian consumers eager to learn the niceties of how to consume a good scotch. They were happy to try out the combination respecting the Scottish lineage of the brand.
The experiential activations were a huge success with the brand registering a 16-times jump in sales from the pre-activation to post-activation phase. The agency was also nominated for ‘Global Marketing Effectiveness Awards’ by the brand's mother company, Diageo.