Last updated : August 28, 2006
A young chap
cruises along a long, winding road in his new car. On the way, he spots an attractive girl seeking a lift. Not missing a beat, he stops his car right next to her with that 'hop on!' look.
It seems that car advertisers have found their comfort zone in this script. Take the latest ad for the revamped Maruti WagonR, for instance, which has been created by Hakuhodo Percept. Is this yet another instance of an agency portraying women as a prop in an ad?
"Not really," explains Debashis Bose, CEO, Hakuhodo Percept. "The WagonR ad has been made with one sole objective: to convey the message of the all-new stylish WagonR to our TG. Women have been cast in our ad to emphasise the fact that our TG is not just men, women are also a crucial part of it."
However, he concedes that car ads with women asking for a lift are an idea that has been done before. "Well, we didn't want to do something different just for the sake of it," he says frankly. "As long as all the changes in the car are coming forth in the ad, we're fine with it."
Besides, the agency needed to create a young, peppy, chilled out mood in the ad and the 'lift' angle was a natural way of bringing that out, according to Bose.
The film begins with a shot of two young friends standing next to a WagonR. One of them tells the other, "Hello hotshot photographer! Meri nayi WagonR to dekho (Take a look at my new WagonR)!" His photographer friend makes a sign with his hands (as though clicking a photo) and, one by one, registers all the changes in the car. He starts with the bold new grill at the front of the car, followed by the new dash and steering wheel, swept back headlamps and luxurious interiors.
As the two pals enjoy their ride in the all-new WagonR, they speed past three girls asking for a lift. Seeing them in the 'all-new automatic side-view mirror', the guy who is driving reverses the car and halts next to the girls. His friend, seated in the passenger seat in front till now, is unceremoniously told to get out of the car to make place for one of the girls. The other two girls sit in the backseat. When the photographer protests at being left out, he is invited by the girls to sit with them in the backseat, thereby bringing out yet another change: The WagonR can now seat five.
A male voiceover concludes: "Pesh hai WagonR… bilkul naye andaaz mein (Presenting the new WagonR, in a completely new look)."
This ad targets 25-32 year olds in the SEC A segment. Mayank Pareek, chief general manager, marketing, Maruti Udyog Ltd, traces the WagonR journey since its launch in 2000. Since then, the WagonR has stuck to the thought, 'Inspired Engineering'. This positioning has been constantly refined, but never changed.
"Two years ago, the WagonR adopted the platform, 'WagonR for the Smarter Race', thereby focusing on the profile of the WagonR user, rather than solely on the car's benefits," says Pareek. "We're continuing with that now."
Recently, Maruti Udyog Ltd and Hakuhodo Percept conducted market research and found that the WagonR needed to be more contemporary, stylish and curvaceous. "People were finding it a bit boxy," says Pareek. Besides, the profile of the WagonR user was also changing with the times: more cheerful, more positive about life and more confident. That is how the new WagonR came about, with its streamlined, SUV-like body.
The changes in the looks of the car pushed the need for a new communication route, which led to a print campaign early in 2006, based on the line, 'Change to a Positive Outlook'.
"We have carried forward the same optimism in the TVC with the buddy feeling between the two friends," says Bose of Hakuhodo Percept. When asked why the photographer element was used to bring out the new features of the car, Bose says the answer lies in the research findings: Indian youth are now choosing careers that their hearts tell them to choose, and that may not necessarily be a mainstream profession.
"This inclination to do what they want to made us think of casting the role of a photographer," Bose explains. "Not only does he fit the target profile to perfection, but through his action of clicking photos, we have tried to create a visual mnemonic to highlight the changes."
The film has been directed by ad filmmaker Rohan Sippy of Film Farm. It was shot on a picturesque bit of road between Lonavla and Ambi Valley over two-three days. Using dry ice and fog machines, an artificial mist was created on location to bring out the 'freshness' of the changed features.
According to Pareek of Maruti Udyog Ltd, 10,000 units of the WagonR have been sold already this month as a result of this communication; earlier, the car used to generate sales of 7,500-8,000 units per month.
© 2006 agencyfaqs!First Published : August 28, 2006