A Detailed Guide on Alcohol Advertising In India

Marketing is no longer a linear path, as you need to be present on multiple channels. It has become necessary to adhere to the specific requirements of these channels and maintain coherence in your presence at the same time, that aligns well with the brand personality.

While all of it sounds unnerving in itself, it gets even trickier for alcohol brands. Marketing and advertising of liquor brands face numerous restrictions from the government, media platforms and the masses themselves. But since there’s always a way around challenges, you just need to get your creative juices flowing.

Apart from the regular steps for creating a marketing strategy for any product, there are a few extra steps for an alcohol brand.

Read till the end to know in detail about alcohol marketing strategies for India.  

Table of Contents

  • Competitor Analysis 
  • Consumer Profiling 
  • Brand Ideology
  • Brand Tonality 
  • Surrogate is the way

Competitor Analysis

It is always a wise move to take a measure of the depth before entering the deep waters. Thus, you need to know the ins and outs of the market before entering it. The best way to measure the market is to analyze how it interacts with an existing brand that offers something similar to yours. 

Evaluating your competitors can help you-

  • Identify potential gaps in the market 
  • Discover your unique selling point
  • Unravel market trends and new opportunities

Thus, competitive analysis is useful in creating a comprehensive marketing strategy.

You can start your analysis by determining who your competitor is. Once you identify your competition, you need to study them in detail.

  • Search for the products they offer
  • Investigate their marketing tactics and results
  • Observe their product pricing
  • Measure the consumer response
  • Evaluate their content strategy and the resulting engagement.

Using these pointers, you can create a complete SWOT analysis, highlighting the strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities for your competitors.      

Consumer Profiling

After analyzing the market and your competitors, the next big step is to understand your consumers.

Today, the consumer only responds to personalized marketing methods that keep their needs and demands at the center. Thus, to create the perfect consumer experience you need to know what a typical customer of your brand looks like.

You need to chart out a general persona and some common pain points across your entire consumer base. You can use the detailed profiles of a few loyal customers to look for some common factors that feature regularly.

It will help you get a gist of what your potential consumer might be searching for and how you can deliver it.

Brand Ideology

You may believe it or not but every brand has its own ideology. There is a driving force that works behind a brand’s entire operation. It can be anything from creating a cooperative space for people and maximizing productivity to promoting sustainable growth or any other founding idea.

This ideology is the most essential element of a brand’s identity, as it not only inspires customers but even encourages employees to work for an idea they align with.

Try and find out the idea that makes your brand what it is. Once you find your brand’s ideology, aim towards aligning it with your consumer persona and prioritizing it in your work culture.

Brand Tonality

Every brand has a different perception among consumers. While some products are associated with safety and warmth, others are related to adventure and thrill. It is this perception of a brand that is determined by its tonality.

A brand’s tonality doesn’t necessarily need to be in direct link with its product or service.

It usually arises from the brand’s creative choices. In the long run, the perception of a brand solidifies enough for people to associate its name with some specific traits.

As an alcohol brand, you should work towards building a perception that creates a distinct and strong personality for your brand.

Surrogate is the way

So once your research is done, you get to the tougher level meant only for alcohol brands, i.e, advertising.

Alcohol advertisements, not unlike in several other countries, are banned in India. Thus, no brand can promote alcohol freely. So, every alcohol marketing strategy has to make use of a method called Surrogate advertising.

Alcohol brands using surrogate advertising do not advertise alcohol directly but promote the brand name via their ‘brand extensions’. So, they might promote and sell sparkling water, soda, music CDs or any other product that is not banned.

By selling a surrogate product, under the brand’s name, liquor companies ensure that the brand name gets stuck in the consumer’s head. Often they also associate certain ideologies and concepts with these products that subtly promote alcohol.

So, alcohol advertising in India is a tough job. You need to get a bit creative and search for a surrogate product that will help you promote your brand and the associated ideology. Consider your target audience and then look for a message that won’t promote alcohol consumption directly but help the audience relate to the brand.


So, alcohol advertising in India poses some special challenges.

You should start by analyzing your competitors for a complete SWOT analysis. Later, you should research your consumers to create a consumer persona.

Furthermore, find out what ideology drives your brand and then decide on how you want your brand to be perceived by your audience.

Finally, you will need to find a good surrogate product to promote both your brand name and its ideology. The above-mentioned practices will help you make the best alcohol marketing strategies that produce results.