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Tata Sumo: King-sized idea

By , agencyfaqs! | In Advertising | January 08, 2001
The new commercial for the Tata Sumo puts across the 'comfort' and 'spaciousness' attributes of the MUV through some dramatic communication

N. Shatrujeet
agencyfaqs!
NEW DELHI

Forest brigand Veerapan might not have won himself too many friends on account of his misdeeds, but the man has helped spawn quite a few creative ideas for Indian ad agencies. First there was that entertaining ad for the Apollo Amazer that gave a humorous twist to the Veerapan-Rajkumar episode. And now, this brilliant commercial for the Tata Sumo, loosely wound around what could be one of Veerapan's exploits.

The Sumo commercial, made by O&M, starts with a small bunch of jungle bandits looking to ambush passing vehicles under cover of darkness. Their wait comes to an end when a Sumo drives into view. The bandits quickly barricade the road with a tree trunk. The Sumo pulls up, the driver timidly gets out of the vehicle to investigate the roadblock and the bandits pounce on him. A cursory look at the Sumo reveals there is no one else in the vehicle. The bandit chief (Makarand Deshpande) heaves a sigh of relief, but then…

Slowly, a sleepy head rears up from one of the seats, looks around and yawns. One by one, more people sit upright, rub their eyes and get out of the Sumo, wondering about the stoppage. To the bandit chief's dismay, the passengers are a team of footballers, each a humongous lump of muscle. The bandit chief quickly informs the men he has 'held up' that the tree on the road has fallen by "mishtake" and orders his sidekicks to clear the road, before scooting into the night. The payoff: 'Tata Sumo. Kingsize.'

What a way to communicate spaciousness and comfort! The fact that a team of well-built footballers (plus a puny driver) can fit into a Sumo is saying one thing. That the team can find place to sleep lying down is another. Exaggeration, yes. But exaggeration that drives home the point to the hilt.

"With the launch of the Toyota Qualis and the Mahindra Bolero, we concluded that something new had to be said about the Sumo," reveals an O&M spokesperson. "With one of the most cavernous interiors, irrespective of the class of vehicle, the Tata Sumo's cathedral-hall dimensions make it the ideal vehicle to travel in if you need both hands to count your family. The middle row, with its re-contoured seats, is the most comfortable spot and, at a pinch, can accommodate four adults."

Communicating 'space' wasn't the only option that O&M had. "The Sumo was the slowest vehicle in its class, but with the addition of the Turbo, it is now by far the quickest," says the spokesperson. With two distinct parameters of product superiority over the competition, it came down to deciding which one to exploit. O&M opted for spaciousness because the Sumo's primary audience is families. It was felt that it was safer not to mention speed to 'the family'. The ads objective is to pitch the Sumo as the best vehicle for a family, offering unrivalled space and comfort.

The multi-utility vehicle (MUV) segment, in which the Tata Sumo falls, is valued at Rs 4,000 crore. However, the segment is registering negative growth due to the apparent slowing down of the Indian economy and the below par performance of the agricultural segment, which contributes significantly to MUV sales.

Which explains why most MUVs are trying to position themselves as passenger cars, one way or the other. For instance, the Qualis calls itself 'The Premium Multi Passenger Vehicle', while the Bolero too makes an allusion by saying 'Anything else is just a car'. Says the spokesperson, "The reason for this is that we feel a strong need to extend our source of business as the MUV category on its own has shown definite signs of shrinking."

'Kingsize' was chosen as the tagline because it afforded making a simple, single-minded promise. "Simply put, we leave no room for varying interpretations, and at the same time, have managed to distinctly put forth our brand superiority," says the spokesperson.

The Team:

Creative Director : Piyush Pandey
Servicing : Mahesh Chauhan, Aejaz Khan, Anuja Kimatrai
Filmmaker : Prasoon Pandey
Production House : Highlight Films
Model : Makarand Deshpande

© 2001 agencyfaqs!