McDowell's Vintage Classic Premium Whisky
The case focuses on the launch of McDowell's Vintage Premium Indian Whisky in the mid-1980's (the dates used in the case are later and exchange rates and prices have been adjusted accordingly. The essence of the marketing challenge faced by the marketing manager is unaffected by the later dates). McDowell must deal with a common dilemma faced by domestic firms in developing economies where growth frequently produces a greater concentration of wealth at the upper end of the market. Frequently domestic products in developing nations are perceived to be of poor quality and do not have the cachet of well-known international trademarks. As a result, the growing affluence of the middle class in these nations can lead to increasing consumption of high price, high margin imports while domestic products are restricted to the low price/high volume business where it is difficult to be profitable. To address this problem, McDowell has developed a product that compares favourably in taste tests with imported products however; it does carry the baggage of being a domestic brand. The case considers the problem of the marketing manager for McDowell's Vintage PIW who must choose a positioning and marketing strategy for his product. An important decision is whether the new product should be positioned as an acceptable alternative to imported scotch or whether it should be positioned as the best tasting domestic product. A further problem for the manager is to choose an appropriate marketing strategy for the product given the size of the country and the difficulty of reaching the target market. The timing of the case is 6 months before the scheduled launch for the product. The manager needs to finalize the positioning for the new product. In addition, the manager is considering several alternative strategies for the product that involve difficult decisions in terms of distribution, promotion and packaging.