Since 1989, pretender and counterfeit 'Armenian' brandies emerged, significantly damaging Russian consumer confidence in Armenian Brandy and the ARARAT brand. In addition, ARARAT faced negative associations with Soviet times, so its modern, premium associations began to fade. To reaffirm its position and clearly differentiate itself from pretender and generic Armenian Brandies, ARARAT developed a new Brand Platform: 'Engaging and Inspiring Legends for Today'.
The business objectives were to re-establish ARARAT's brand image as a premium category leader and position ARARAT beyond the brandy category and its competitors. Similarly, the communication objectives aimed at communicating ARARAT's new Brand Platform: 'Engaging and Inspiring Legends for Today' and generating strong word of mouth around the ARARAT brand.
The target audience, represented by 30-50 year old men and women, loves epic drama and the grand narrative of legends and associates them with Armenia and ARARAT.
Media restrictions in key markets dictated a focus on print and Internet (alcohol advertising on TV and radio is illegal in most ARARAT markets, including Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus). But this was also an extremely effective way to connect with the large and widely spread Armenian diaspora around the globe
The creative strategy was to re-tell authentic Armenian legends in a modern way for a contemporary audience, reflecting ARARAT's modern values. The campaigns central piece was a 20-minute film called 'Akhtamar', named after an ancient Armenian legend of unrequited love (also the name of a premium product in the ARARAT range). It was distributed free through a branded website and advertised like other movies using trailers, billboards and print.
As a result, ARARAT's brand image was re-established as a premium category leader. Moreover, the Akhtamar 360° campaign site (www.ararat-legends.com) brought ARARAT's new Brand Platform 'Engaging and Inspiring Legends for Today' to huge numbers of people. Finally, the Akhtamar 360° campaign had a direct impact on sales. According to Nielsen Retail Audit data, in Dec-Jan 2010 in Russia, Ararat comfortably maintained its market share at 20.7% - an increase of 1.3% (Client Sales 2010).