Kingfisher's annual swimsuit calendar, in its sixth edition, has become an integral part of the brand's tagline 'King of Good Times'. What was just a thought has now turned into an ideal branding platform and is also boosting industries like fashion and tourism.
Photographer Atul Kasbekar, who came up with the idea of the calendar six years back, knew that the only person who would bring to life his idea was UB group Chairman Vijay Mallya.
"I wouldn't have sold the idea to anyone if Vijay had turned it down," he admits.
Kasbekar believes that the calendar, which so far was primarily promoting the world of fashion, could be the perfect way to boost the Indian tourism sector. "The calendar could be used to promote places like the Andaman islands or even Goa," says Kasbekar, who, by his own admission, has seen quite a fair bit of the country.
For example, the calendar has been shot in the Kings' Museum of Goa that was recently opened for public.
This year's edition, which has been shot exclusively in India, features models like Deepti Gujral, Sheetal Menon and Monikangana Dutta, sporting brands like La Perla (swimwear from its India inspired line), Jimmy Choo (shoes), Roberto Cavalli (sunglasses), Watches of Switzerland (watches), and Christian Dior (accessories and sunglasses).
"It is always fun shooting for the calendar and it was extra special this time as it was India specific," Kasbekar says. With locales ranging from Ladakh, Andaman & Nicobar, Udaipur and Goa, the calendar is in sync with the brand's imagery.
"Earlier, it was a hassle to get permits from various tourism boards to shoot in India, thus the calendar was always shot abroad. But this time it was relatively easier, as people knew it could be an ideal way to promote tourism," Kasbekar adds.
According to Vijay Mallya, "Kingfisher has come to epitomise a lifestyle that encompasses some of the finest things in life and is synonymous with all that is premium." And the calendar is just a part of the whole brand. Only a select few in the 56 'Kingfisher countries' across the world will receive a copy of the calendar.
Kasbekar believes the calendar should be used by other brands too. Who knows, calendars may soon become the next big thing in the world of brand promotion.
In the picture: Model Shilpa Reddy poses in the Kingfisher calender 2006