This month, Chivas Regal had a first-ever collaboration with Italian automobile brand Pininfarina in three limited edition art pieces. The purpose? To uplift the brand from the party-goer image of the Chivas 12 to a modern gentleman for the Chivas 18.
For years, the Chivas 12 has been the face of the brand for the Asian market out of its range of 12, 18 and 25; and for years, it has marketed itself as a mainstream drink for karaokes, parties and goes well with green tea.
But now, it wants to preach to a higher class bunch with the more upscale Chivas 18.
“We want to be more prestige and not just mainstream anymore,” said Kaori Shirota, deputy marketing director of Pernod Richard Hong Kong – distributor of Chivas Regal.
“Yes, we are a lifestyle brand, but with the Chivas 18, we want to represent a modern gentleman who is interested in the quality of life, art, and of course, bonding with friends.”
Despite its challenges and rarity of uplifting a mainstream brand, Shirota said the move was necessary given that Hong Kong is seen as the window to the rest of Asia Pacific and, frankly, “there are many millionaires in the city”, she added.
Aside from artistic collaborations, Shirota will also focus on product exposure: rather than keeping with karaoke outlets, clubs or bars tailored to a younger audience like she did with the Chivas 12, the 18-year will only be seen in restaurants, bars and liqueur shops.
One differentiation it has with luxury brands is: it won’t appear on luxury magazines.
“The modern gentleman don’t only purchase magazines every month, so we’re trying to use a 360 degree communication tool in print, Facebook, digital, and OOH,” she said, adding that the brand is already making plans in promoting itself through micro-films on YouTube.
Eventually, she said the brand portfolio will also be uplifted to include the Chivas 25 – its most premium line.
“It’s all about price and positioning: 25 is too far away from 12. Eventually, we’ll do something about the 25.
“But now, the role is still relatively limited. The 18 is good for us now: it’s not too luxurious, but is an affordable luxury that is still available for everybody.”