What's in a name? Loads, really. Or so the recent television campaign for the Kinetic ZX claims. Enough to make people oozing bonhomie and goodwill to suddenly turn purple… because someone had the temerity to suggest that the Kinetic ZXs they owned were actually "scooters".
First in the series was the 'boss' ad, where this marketing executive riding a ZX gives his stranded boss a lift to office. The boss is mighty impressed with the ZX and all's going well - till the boss appreciatively comments that it's a great 'scooter'. The boss pays the price for his indiscretion - he is unceremoniously offloaded by the wayside by the cheesed off junior executive.
Then there's the 'shaadi pakki' ad. As the fathers-in-law-to-be bear hug one another, the boy's father joyously tells the girl's father, "Ab sochna kya hai, shaadi ki tareek pakki karte hain." The boy's mother agrees wholeheartedly. The boy whispers to the girl that as there's no more "sochna", he shall come to pick her up in the evening. The girl smiles coyly, points to the ZX parked in the driveway and asks innocently, "Scooter mein?"
"Scooter?" the boy fumes. "Scooter?" the boy's mother is indignant. "Scooter?" the boy's father growls. "Hum soch kar jawaab denge," the boy sternly tells the girl's family. "Scooter nahin, yeh hai Kinetic," the voiceover explains.
Explaining the logic behind the campaign, a spokesperson for Mudra Communications said, "As the product has been in the market for many years now, we didn't want to do a rational communication along the 'more advanced, auto start, auto gear' lines. This, the consumer already knows. Instead, we decided to look at the emotional dimension of the same fact."
"Kinetic consumers are more possessive about their vehicle as compared to the owners of other scooters," he continues. "For instance, a small businessman uses a traditional scooter for business purposes, and, in some cases, even allows his employee to ride it. But a Kinetic is for his personal use. Again, most Kinetic consumers refer to their Kinetic as 'Kinie' or 'Kinetic' - and not a scooter. We have positioned the Kinetic as a 'non-scooter' to establish its superiority over conventional scooters."
"Owning an old-fashioned scooter is a source of embarrassment as the image associations are 'loser' and 'fuddy-duddy'," adds a Kinetic Motors (KMCL) spokesperson. "Owning a Kinetic is a source of pride as the image associations are 'modern' and 'successful'. Hence, Kinetic owners take it as a personal insult when they are thought of as people who own something as archaic as a scooter."
The idea clearly is to distance all the Kinetic offerings from scooters. And it is a tactical move that has a lot to do with the segment as a whole, feels one market analyst. "The scooter segment is plunging southward, and I think Kinetic does not want any association with scooters at the macro level. Kinetic is trying to get into the consideration set of those who have decided against buying a scooter because scooters aren't hot."
The KMCL spokesperson insists that although the scooter market is shrinking - from 39 per cent in 1998-99 to 24.6 per cent in the first three quarters of 2000-01 - Kinetic has managed bucking the trend. "While the market for scooters, as a whole, is down 33 per cent (based on unit sales comparison in April-December 1999-2000, and the same period in 2000-01), Kinetic sales have grown by 13 per cent. This indicates that the consumer and the market recognize Kinetic as something better than geared scooters."
KMCL sells around 13,000 scooters per month in the 12.5-lakh-units per annum scooter market, which gives it a 12-per cent market share. Today, gearless scooters account for a quarter of scooter sales. And the auto gear scooter segment is growing by 25-30 per cent. "We want to build on the Kinetic's image, capitalize on the current market trend and give a further sense of proud ownership to our customers," says the KMCL spokesperson.
Agency : Mudra Communications, Mumbai
Creative : Renzil D'Silva, Anup Chitnis, Amer Jaleel, Naren Yadhav
Servicing : Vijay Verma, Suresh Amarnani, Neville Bastawalla
Filmmaker : Deven Khote
Production House : UTV
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