Ford Fiesta: Getting into a tight spot

By Devina Joshi , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | July 11, 2008
In an ad for the relaunch of the Fiesta, JWT has glamorised parking, one of the least liked aspects of driving

Think & #BANNER1 & # about it. When the functional layers are stripped away, cars are about speed, luxury, style and status, or a combination of these. And automobile ads in India have exploited these qualities to the hilt, up to the point where it is difficult to distinguish one glossy commercial from the other.

A new ad created by JWT for the relaunch of the Ford Fiesta breaks the stereotype while still conforming to the norm. While sticking to the performance and style aspects in its communication, the ad uses the least glamorous, most tedious part of the driving experience - parking - as its key insight.

To put things in perspective, the Fiesta was launched in 2005. The first ad featured actor Abhishek Bachchan driving off on the road in the middle of the night in a Fiesta (while establishing the 'Go Fida' premise). Three ads - 'Bombay to Goa', 'Diet Diesel' and 'Light the Poles' - have done the rounds after that. (For Fiesta's complete ad journey, click here.)

"See, Ford has always been about the performance dynamics, the 'fun to drive' aspect of the car," says Sanjeev Shukla, general manager, marketing, Ford India. "Even the Ford Ikon ads (the 'Josh' machine) stand proof of that. In this ad, we have simply upped the ante on the driveability factor and we are trying to include a bigger TG set - a more affluent lot."

Ford caters to yuppies - people who love their car, have a passion for driving and tend to add elements and gadgets to their car and tinker with it to personalise it. Now, with the new Fiesta, Ford hopes to target people who, while having a passion for cars, are slightly more status conscious. For them, a car is no longer part of their gadgetry, but also a lifestyle statement. In other words, Ford is also looking to be relevant to the more mature, 35+ age group.

To announce the launch of the upgraded version of the Fiesta, Ford India and JWT have conceptualised a commercial that highlights manoeuvrability with an element of style thrown in.

The ad opens on the shot of an elegantly dressed woman stepping out of a hall on to the exit staircase to receive a phone call. At the other end is her boyfriend (presumably), and she asks him where he is. He tells her he isn't far away - he is in his car across the street. When she offers to cross the street to meet him, he tells her to wait right there. As she watches, he manoeuvres the car stylishly and brings it to her side, parking with a flourish between two cars in a seemingly impossible spot. Leaning over, he opens the door for her, while the crowd around stares in awe.

The film concludes on the thought, 'The New Ford Fiesta. Styled to Perform', while the super reads, 'Go Fida'.

When asked why parking of all things has formed the crux of the creative execution, Shukla explains, "While the obvious answer would be to highlight the easy manoeuvrability and the control he has over the car, we also wanted to show that the driver of the car is confident and comfortable about his car as well as his relationship with his lady."

In a sense, the parking sequence is a demonstration of the driver's chemistry with the car, juxtaposed with his chemistry with the woman in his life. "We wanted to show that the Fiesta performs the way you want it to and the parking sequence fitted perfectly with our scheme of things," says Shukla.

The ad has been created by JWT Chennai, led by executive creative director Senthil Kumar, while Ashwin Parthiban, Vani Aiyer, Shiv Parameswaran and Hyder Ali of JWT have also worked on it.

Kumar says, "You can Go Fida with your Ford Fiesta even on simple things like picking up your partner. And perform in style, like the parallel parking performance pulled off by our protagonist." The film has been directed by Manoj Pillai of Thinkpot Productions.