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The Success Story of Bisleri: A brand that dared to become synonymous with Water

Updated: Mar 14, 2021

You can also listen to the podcast of this same post, here


How many of us have asked a shopkeeper “Bhaiya, Ek Bisleri dena” when all you wanted was a bottle of water?

And some of us would’ve also possibly got a Kinley in return when asked for a Bisleri.

But have you ever wondered, what went behind the success of Bisleri?

A brand that dared to be synonymous with water, well that’s got to be something!

In this post we look at everything from past, to present, to future of Bisleri.

This is bound to be a long post, but sure to include lots of learnings!


Table of Contents

1. Timeline of Bisleri

2. How it all started

3. Marketing strategy of Bisleri | Marketing mix

4. Advertising Campaigns over the years

5. Future of the brand

Now let’s look at each of them in detail


1. Timeline of Bisleri

The timeline can be best summarized with the help of the image below:

Timeline of Bisleri

And while multiple things happened even between the highlighted years, the one’s highlighted have made a big contribution to Bisleri’s success!


1949- Parle Group was launched by the late Shri Jayantilal Chauhan to manufacture soft drinks.

Parle group has been behind the launch of one of the most iconic soft drinks- Goldspot!


1965- In 1965 Bisleri was introduced in Mumbai.

1969- Parle Group bought Bisleri from an Italian entrepreneur Signor Felice Bisleri.

The quality of water in Europe around World War II was extremely bad, and hence the need for packaged drinking water came through.

Back then, even India was facing a similar problem, and hence Ramesh Chauhan from Parle Group could sense an opportunity.


2006- From 1969 to 2006, Parle launched a variety of soft drinks which they do not own anymore- but did you know, it was Parle who started Limca (Nimbu-ka), Maaza, and also Thums Up!

In 2006, they changed their brand color from blue to green, this helped them distinguish against their competitors who were still operating in the shades of blue.


2017- With multiple ad campaigns and product launches, in 2017 Bisleri did something really extraordinary!

The introduction of regional language bottle labels made consumer connections from across regions extremely strong!


2020- The progressive approach of Bisleri didn’t stop irrespective of the pandemic.

They launched the Bisleri@doorstep service where people could call and order their Bisleri, which would then be delivered at home.


2. How it all started

Let’s try to analyze how Bisleri became equivalent to water.

When it comes to a product like water, there is not much differentiation possible.

The few points you can focus on are purity, and maybe a price differentiation point.

Back in the day, Bisleri was introduced in glass bottles, which later turned into non-returnable PVC bottles and finally to PET bottles.

But what worked really well for Bisleri is their distribution network- be it any nook and corner, there might not be a single tea stall/shop, not selling a Bisleri!

Bisleri uses the hub and spoke model of distribution and currently reaches over 2 lakh outlets across India, and these are increasing on a year on year basis.

Bisleri currently has over 60% market share in the packaged drinking water segment.

It currently offers packaged drinking water in multiple SKUs.


3. Marketing strategy of Bisleri | Marketing mix of Bisleri

Let’s try to analyze Bisleri through the 4Ps of Marketing to get a better picture.


Product

Over the years we have seen changes in the packaging of the product, the switch from blue to green, and the introduction of various SKUs for every need.

However, the main product in their portfolio is mineral water and is branded as ‘Bisleri Mineral Water’.

Besides this, they also sell Bisleri Sodawater, which is also quite popular under carbonated and non-carbonated variants.

Urzza was Bisleri’s effort to enter the energy drink segment and the brand extension didn’t work that well for them.


Price

Now since it's water, any brand be it Bisleri or any other, cannot have a high price range.

So the pricing is very reasonable, however, the problem is that it’s extremely competitive as well.

As a result of which, it gets difficult to differentiate your product in the market.

Bisleri recently increased their prices under a reasonable cap, to ensure some competitive advantage.

The overall strategy, therefore, revolves around ensuring maximum volume of sales which can ensure larger revenues in the future.


Place

There is no doubt that availability is what will differentiate the brand from its competitors and hence a strong distribution channel is considered as a must for the brand.

Thus, when it comes to market penetration, Bisleri’s game is very strong.

They have a strong supply chain and distribution model, under which they have more than 15 manufacturing plants spread across the country.


Promotion

Most of us wonder, that a generic brand like Bisleri, need not advertise or promote itself, I mean, who doesn’t know Bisleri?

But well, given the extremely competitive market segment it works in, it’s important to ensure their promotional game is strong enough.

As a part of which, they have ensured multiple ad-campaigns on television, radio, and other channels, and each of their communication is built on an interesting insight, let’s analyze their ad campaigns now!


4. Advertising Campaigns over the years


1. Bisleri Mountain water (2011)

This was one of the most iconic communications from Bisleri, and even while working on this post, the tune of this commercial was stuck in my mind throughout!

This campaign was focused on the launch ‘Bisleri Mountain water’ variant, and highlighted the core promise of ‘You are always safe with a Bisleri’.

It instilled the Bisleri promise of purity and safety, and I feel it was quite quirky as well with the execution.

However, the variant of mountain water was called off later in 2018.

Bisleri confirmed that they made a mistake with the launch of this variant since it was quite difficult to differentiate between the regular Bisleri and the mountain water variant.

Well, nonetheless the jingle of the ad is still stuck on!


2. Bisleri Kiss to Drink campaign (2013)

This campaign had multiple short commercials of 30secs each but had a similar premise across.

The premise was to create a youthful as well as a personal connection with the brand.

The aim was to promote the 500ml SKU with an effort to portray an ideology of ‘buy your own’ for consumption.

The ad had a beautiful connection, and it was totally relatable because it’s something a lot of us experience daily.

You don’t want to share the same ‘jhoota paani’.

Plus, the SKU is very reasonably priced, so you have nothing to lose!


3. Har Paani ki bottle Bisleri nahi hoti (2018)

This one’s my favorite!!

Just pause and think about how amazing the brand’s effort has been to highlight a simple problem.

The problem is, that even after consumers specifically ask for a bottle of Bisleri, shopkeepers might give them another brand.

The campaign used humor in the best possible manner- the line ‘I’m a camel, not a donkey’ has the perfect connection.

Even the tagline of ‘Har paani ki bottle Bisleri Nahi hoti’ is just apt to convey the message perfectly.


4. Don’t worry, ab ghar aayegi Bisleri (2020)

Bisleri launched a new service whereby consumers could order their Bisleri at home through a doorstep, contactless delivery.

They used the same camel mascot ‘Badal’ to spread the message.

The use of animation was perfect here and spread the message perfectly.


All in all, I feel this is one brand that provides the best blend of humor + insights + propositions.

Their ad communication is to the point, and they have ensured to highlight the exact market conditions to target.

It’s like the on-ground problems are being attempted to solve, online.


4. Future of the brand

The future of Bisleri looks pretty promising given that their distribution game remains strong.

I feel the brand should continue doing what they do best, conduct adequate market research to find deep and meaningful insights, and then link them back to ad communications that create a strong connection!


Do let us know your thoughts on the article in the comments below!






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