Surrogate Marketing | How Are Brands Using It?


Surrogate Marketing

Surrogate Marketing


Why don’t we have ads that says “Desh ka No.1 Whiskey” or “Have a break, have a Marlboro” ?

It is because they are prohibited to promote their products directly.

The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has banned the direct liquor and tobacco ad in the media and hoardings.

Thus, came in surrogate advertising- an escape route for these brands to promote their products.


Surrogate means “substitute” and surrogate advertising just do that. Advertisements that duplicate the brand image of one product to promote another product of the same brand.

These companies go out of their way to create innovative strategies to attract as much attention from consumers and communicate effectively to sell a product, service, or idea which they could not do otherwise.


How they promote these products?


Brand Extension: Bagpiper’s Communicating Product is Soda, Music CDs, whereas the main product is Whiskey. These brands also extend their product line to improve brand recall.

Imperial Blue Surrogate marketing

Proxy commercials: “Men Will Be Men” Ad always evokes the brand recall of Imperial Blue.

Imperial Blue Ad

Promotion through movies: Promotion through movies/web series (Kingfisher Ultra in YouTube web series)


Social Media: Twitter, Facebook; Instagram- getting max engagements (2019). Philip Morris suspended its social media campaign upon criticism for company’s use of young online personalities to sell its new “heated tobacco” IQOS device #IQOSambassador

Dalmore surrogate marketing

Campaigns: Whassup bud by Budweiser- which reminds people to check on friends and family during the lockdown period, Heineken’s “Connectioff” -pitfalls of social distancing during CoViD-19 pandemic

Budweiser Ad

Organizing events & Sponsorship: Teachers Bravery Award, Manikchand Filmfare Awards, #BacardiHouseParty are sponsored to keep the brand etched in their customer’s mind.

Flimfare sponsership