As 2008 & #BANNER1 & # set in, TVS Motors launched the 125cc TVS Flame in Chennai and, along with that, a television commercial to announce the launch. This TVC was followed by a calendar shot by ace photographer Jatin Kampani and conceptualised by TVS' creative agency, Saatchi & Saatchi. Now Kampani's work for the calendar has been adjudged the third best work at the photo competition, Prix de la Photographie - PX3 Awards, Paris 2008, in the Calendar category.
When the bike was launched in January, Saatchi & Saatchi released a commercial which depicted a woman displaying great desire for the product in question. The communication put forward the creative thought - the hunter and the hunted. The calendar, which was released after that, has taken the same thought forward.
Rajeev Ravindranathan, creative director, Saatchi & Saatchi Bangalore, says, "The calendar depicts the positioning of the bike as a style accessory - the bike is a first for TVS in terms of style and design."
The basic idea was to sell the style, rather than just the motorbike experience. "There is a difference between superior riding performance and high performance - and we chose to go with the former, and the bike was positioned as one which lends the hottest riding experience," says Ravindranathan.
The calendar was shot in Mumbai and Berlin; the bike and the women have been shot in Mumbai on chroma key, and the backdrops have been shot in Berlin. The locations in Berlin have no roads; the darkness of urban cityscapes injects life into the theme and pictures of the calendar, explains Ravindranathan.
Kampani and Ravindranathan have worked together on the pictures, which are highly conceptual. The women in the calendar are replicated from characters in comic books. Ravindranathan reasons, "Comic books allow one to imagine and let go of reality, which is not possible through any other medium such as movies or the like."
The pictures come from Modesty Blaise comic strips, and have been given a surreal look. The first page of the calendar reads, "Darkness Falls, Shadows Come to Life. And the Hunter becomes the Hunted. 2008 - Set Your Desire on Fire." The six-page calendar features three international models.
K Ramakrishnan, general manager, marketing, TVS Motors, says, "Looking at the target group of young businessmen who own small shops, we noticed that these people had pin-ups on the walls of their premises. We wanted to get into their mindspace, and a calendar, with its long shelf life, serves as a magnet to keep the consumer looking at it again and again."
TVS didn't want just another bike calendar. The agency had to assure the client of a distinctive concept. Ramakrishnan reveals that the calendar has been accepted well by consumers and dealers, and that they will continue the calendar idea on a regular basis.
Ramakrishnan reveals that the bike has got a good response, and since it went national in March, it has sold 18,000 units till end-April. TVS Flame competes with other bike models such as the Honda Shine, Bajaj Discover and Hero Honda Glamour in the 125cc category. The Flame has been priced at Rs 46,000 (ex-showroom, Chennai) for the drum brake version and Rs 48,500 for the disc brake version.
Kampani is the first Indian photographer whose work has featured on the cover of Lurzer's Archive - the work was Entrapped for Brand Sunsilk. Entrapped also won him the second prize in the Advertising category at PX3 2007.