BUSINESS

[Herald Interview] Royal Salute goes younger with modern twist to lineup

By Kim Da-sol
  • Published : Jul 22, 2019 - 17:47
  • Updated : Jul 22, 2019 - 18:49

It is no easy decision for a brand to abandon its original concept and transform a product lineup, especially when it comes to a luxury whisky.

Royal Salute, whose distillery dates back to 1801, is best known for being the only scotch whisky in the world with a lineup that begins from 21 years of maturity. The Royal Salute 21 Year Old was launched in 1953 to commemorate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, named after the traditional 21-gun salute.

Making a twist to its rich heritage, the brand unveiled the new Royal Salute brand design and product lineup in Seoul on July 11, as part of its efforts to target younger, premium luxury spenders.

“You can see it from the new package, more audacious and artistic value that we aim to show. And it was the right timing to do it as we thought such concepts were relevant to the new generation,” said Mathieu Deslandes, Royal Salute’s global marketing director, during an interview with The Korea Herald. 

Mathieu Deslandes, Royal Salute global marketing director (Pernod Ricard Korea)

According to Deslandes, the latest concept came from a collaboration with contemporary artist Kristjana S. Williams, to express the “nobility of the royal family and contemporary luxury.”

He said the collaboration with the artist added English humor to the motif of the royal menagerie, which is symbolic of affluence and confidence.

An expert with over 20 years of brand campaign experience, Deslandes said the new concept of Royal Salute has also added a fresh sense to the brand. 

“In spite of consumers evolving, many of the luxury brands do not keep their concept up to date. They are not modern in some way. Twenty years ago and now are different. A new look and feel of the packaging fit more into the code of today,” he said. 

When asked if the new brand concept may risk losing the Royal Salute brand identity or even disappointing loyal fans, Deslandes was confident that the brand concept change had undergone a long process of consideration and thorough discussion with the collaboration artist. 

“We have to agree with the person for the collaboration (concept). We do not do the collaboration with renowned figures just for their name or fame. We do collaborations with people who deeply understand and respect the brand,” he said. 

Under the new brand concept, the lineup has also been transformed.
Royal Salute now consists of the brand’s representative whisky Royal Salute 21YO Signature Blend, the original Royal Salute 21YO Malts and, lastly, its Royal Salute 21YO Lost Blend, which is only available at duty-free stores. 

“The expansion of the lineup and range of choice for luxury whisky is significant as the original 21-year-old whisky lineup has been expanded to malts,” he said. 

Mathieu Deslandes, Royal Salute global marketing director (Pernod Ricard Korea)

He also pointed to the commonly mentioned stereotype that whisky is only for older generations. 

“Around 50 percent of whisky consumers in China are millennials. Whisky is not for any certain age. It is for those who can appreciate whisky and have the appetite for high-quality products,” he said.

“Age does not matter, I mean it does matter for whisky, but not for someone who enjoys whisky,” he joked.

Deslandes also mentioned his high expectations from the Korean market and whisky lovers here.

“Royal Salute is hugely popular among Korean consumers. Luxury consumers like the unique class and value that Royal Salute has. I hope the new design and lineup that open a new era of luxury help Royal Salute become an inspiring brand to younger generations and original fans here and globally,” he said. 

By Kim Da(ddd@heraldcorp.com)


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