"At Chandon, We Believe in Bringing Together Our French Lineage with Local Ethos": Sophia Sinha

Marketing | June 25, 2018 | Interview


Chandon one of world's largest and the most popular champagne brands recently took a digital leap with the launch of its next edition of The Party Starter™ 2.0 campaign - The Party Starter Stories. The campaign started off with the first “story” with the iconic and legendary actor Irrfan Khan and will be followed by interesting stories of ten game changers.  The series salutes people across various genres who have made a difference in their respective field – just as Chandon India. 

In an exclusive interaction with EVENTFAQS, Sophia Sinha – Senior Marketing Manager, Chandon India reveals more details of the campaign and the relevance of experiential marketing for the brand.

How the ‘Chandon Party Starter’ campaign conceptualised and what was the rationale behind it?

Chandon launched The Party Starter campaign in late 2016 to share the brand platform that symbolises the spirit of Chandon in India. The brand stands for all things vibrant, fun, spontaneous yet high quality and extremely consistent (our product quality and packaging over the years). The main idea behind the campaign was to take sparkling-wine away from only occasion-based consumption and toward life’s everyday moments – every time you open a bottle of Chandon a party starts. This idea largely is an extension of our primary objective of having launched Chandon in India i.e. to democratise bubbles and build the sparkling culture in the market. We are therefore also proving to be game changers in a market dominated by dark spirits.

At Chandon, we strongly believe in the bringing together our French lineage with the local ethos to connect with the consumer. The Party Starter™ gives us the bandwidth to explore multiple connotations of the term and bring alive the vibrancy, dynamism, and spontaneity that sparkling wine stands for. With this idea in mind, we first introduced The Party Starter™ Limited Edition bottles in 2016, to augment the Chandon-experience. The response to these bottles at retail and consumption (restaurants, hotels, etc.) touch-points spurred us to look at The Party Starter™ as a platform rather than just as a seasonal promotion. We followed this up in 2017 with The Party Starter™ anthem (rather than doing a jingle) with Sonam Kapoor and Anushka Manchanda as well as limited edition bottles for the 2017 festive season with Manish Malhotra. 

The idea is simple – bring together game changers and party starters to democratise Chandon.

The inspirational life journey of an influencer is a marketing angle most alcohol brands seem to be thriving on. How is your brand different from others in the market in this regard? How do you differently market your brand from others in the market?

At Chandon India, our above the line marketing strategy is primarily focused on digital and social media platforms to announce new launches and associations. Influencers are, therefore, important but who you choose should reflect back on brand strategy and thinking, what you do with them should connect with on-ground activations and when you work with them should reflect in your marketing programs.

Our target audience spans a couple of buckets between the Millennials and the Xennials (a generation that is extremely important to the brand who are1978 – 1983 born). While the Millennials with their vast hold on technology and information make for a nascent pool of aspiring consumers, the Xennials have both the willingness and ability to buy. The thread that binds both together is their aptitude for products and experiences for a richer lifestyle. 

For a very long time, the average Indian consumer thought that wines were a super serious smell-swirl-sip affair. Moreover, the sparkling wine category almost didn’t exist because it was only synonymous with specific celebrations. So, for us, every marketing initiative is built around trying to build a sparkling wine culture. And that has only been possible by removing all the serious frills and messages and giving our values a form and character. 

The Party Starter™ Stories, for instance, talks to achievers who are game-changers in their respective fields. I think a big part of the discussion when this was still at drawing - board was, who would these people be and what were the ‘criteria’ that this curation would be based on. The result is a diverse list that spans professions, aspirations, age and geography who have collectively shifted paradigms. For instance, we debuted the series with Irrfan Khan – a serious performer and a deep-thinker, who busted the notion of how a Bollywood ‘hero’ should look, speak and emote. In the video, we talk to him about Chandon Rosé and challenge the idea that pink is only for women. To support this, we extend the idea to retail and on-trade promotions through sampling initiatives like ‘Try Me, I’m Chandon’ a program that helps us generate trial and recruit consumers (LDA and above) through varied activations in the on-premise and augmenting the Chandon moment with interesting (and Instagram-worthy) service items.

Talk about some of your recent event based/ on-ground experiential campaigns and how have they helped the brand?

As a part of Moet Hennessy, Marketing efforts go beyond what’s inside the bottle – we are firm believers in delivering excellence in consumer experience. While a strong bottom-line is what we all work towards, we believe that this is irrelevant if the customer does not find your product relevant to their lifestyle. So, my team and I are as much story-tellers as we are Marketers.

When we started Chandon India 5 years ago, we knew that there was vast potential to grow the pie for sparkling wines thanks to the nascent demand. India loved its bubbles (we could see that in Champagne sales), but there was also this aura of inaccessibility around the category (affordability for the mass consumer, quality and consumer mindset due to lack of communication in sparkling wines). 

So, the first thing we did was to reach out to our conduits to the market – the trade community and train them. Every year we conduct training sessions across the country. The purpose is to teach the trade everything- from the right temperature to serve a bottle, right way to open a bottle (always with only a sigh and not necessarily a pop), to doing away with exclusive food-pairings (we like our Chandon Brut with French-fries and our Délice with spicy Indian food). 

Apart from our yearlong initiative Try Me I’m Chandon (which has 3 formats), we also have seasonal activations about 3 – 4 time a year (Rosé Program, Summer and Diwali/End of Year). These seasonal activations are backed with both on-premise experience and a retail offer. 

Our coloured flutes have been a huge success and are now synonymous with the brand. In fact, it was only on the huge demand from consumers who came in contact with the flutes in the on-premise that we created our special SUMMER PACKS in 2016 and have brought them back this summer as well.

Brunches are another big platform for us. It is one of the platforms that is perfect for a bubbly and helps us penetrate into the drinking repertoire of our consumers as well. 

What are some of your upcoming brand campaigns?

We will be continuing The Party Starter™ Stories will continue with 5 more stories coming your way. We do have our 5th anniversary coming up on 19th October 2018 and we have a very special program planned for that which is aptly called HAPPY CHANDON DAY. So we are extremely excited about that.

In an exclusive interaction with EVENTFAQS, Sophia Sinha – Senior Marketing Manager, Chandon India reveals more details of the campaign and the relevance of experiential marketing for the brand.

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