Hero Honda takes eight celebrities on a thrill ride

By Devina Joshi , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | September 23, 2008
Marking Hero Honda's 25 years in India, its new TVC features eight youth icons from different walks of life

It may & #BANNER1 & # resemble an annual Brand Endorsers' Meet or a music video. On closer inspection, it is actually an ad film for Hero Honda.

The two wheeler brand completes 25 years in India this year, and to mark the occasion, it has unleashed an ad featuring all eight celebrities currently associated with it. These are: film actors Hrithik Roshan and Priyanka Chopra; cricketers Virendra Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Ishant Sharma, Irfan Pathan and Suresh Raina; and ace shooter Rajyavardhan Rathore. The music video-like quality has been leveraged for obvious reasons - to appeal to the Indian youth.

Says Sanjeev Bhargav, chief operating officer, Draft FCB Ulka Delhi (Hero Honda's agency), "Over the years, two wheelers, particularly bikes, are becoming more attractive to the youth than any other target segment. On completing its silver jubilee, Hero Honda wishes to appeal to the youth by telling them that the brand is in sync with their mindsets, optimism and ambitions."

Frames from the 'music video'
This has been done with a plethora of young ambassadors to tell the target group that there's more excitement and energy ahead.

All the celebrities in the ad are existing endorsers for Hero Honda, except for Gambhir and Sharma, who feature as Hero Honda ambassadors for the first time.

Anil Dua, senior vice-president, marketing and sales, Hero Honda Motors, claims that Hero Honda is a market leader, with 55 per cent of the Indian motorcycle market share, a leadership stand that the company claims to have achieved seven years ago.

"As our company tasted success when it was 18 - still very young - we thought of drawing a parallel by casting young achievers in our ad," Dua explains. "Hero Honda is a multi-brand, multi-segment company and each of our celebrities talks to a different youth target group. So, our eight celebrities from various walks together give us the kind of scale and grandeur we need to reach out to each of these target segments."

"We wanted to bring them all together under one roof to spread the message of optimism in this 25th year ad," adds Bhargav.

With this ad, Hero Honda has also tweaked its positioning from 'Desh Ki Dhadkan… Dhak Dhak' to 'Yuva Desh Ki Dhadkan… Dhak Dhak Go'. The word 'Go' was added to the punch line because it is a verb, and in that sense, symbolises action. While 'Desh Ki Dhadkan' was established years ago (symbolic of Hero Honda's pride in understanding the pulse of the nation), this ad talks to the youth in particular, encouraging them to follow their dreams and ambitions, with their faithful friend, Hero Honda, in tow.

The ad opens on the shot of a helicopter. A man atop a bike emerges from it. As the bike lands with a thud onto a helipad, the biker (Hrithik Roshan) is seen on a dance floor flanked by other dancers, as he takes a microphone and places it upon his heart. He then thumps to the beat of a song. The lyrics are all about getting energised with Hero Honda, while touching upon the new dreams of the youth and the vigour with which they chase them.

We also see Priyanka Chopra dancing and cruising across cityscapes on her motorbike. The TVC then focuses on the passion with which Irfan Pathan, Virendra Segwag, Gautam Gambhir, Ishant Sharma and Suresh Raina play their game. Ace shooter Rajyavardhan Rathore is seen hitting the bull's eye with precision, while atop his bike.

The ad culminates on a celebration in full progress, firecrackers and all, where all the celebrities arrive on their bikes. "Yuva Desh Ki Dhadkan. Hero Honda. Dhak Dhak Go," says the final shot.

The film is on air on various general entertainment, youth and news channels. It is being supported by print, outdoor and some events. The three minute video also has shorter, 90 second versions on air.

The ad has been produced by Ravi Udyawar, who has several music videos to his credit, including the recent Strings' video featuring John Abraham, titled Koi Aaney Wala Hai. The music track has been composed for a pan-India feel, reflecting the brand's reach. Composed by Ranjit Barrot and sung by Shankar Mahadevan, Sukhwinder Singh and Shreya Ghoshal, the track hopes to create a blend of Sufi and rock music.

According to sources in the industry, a whopping Rs 2 crore has been spent on the making of this ad film. Shot at five different locations across the country and abroad, including Mumbai, Jaipur and Kuala Lumpur, the project was spread over a period of two months.

While Hero Honda may be gung-ho about its 25th year advert, some creative folk find the use of eight celebrities a bit over the top. Sagar Mahabaleshwarkar, chief creative officer, Rediffusion DYR, is one of them. "The ad is based around an idea - youth enthusiasm - that has been exploited several times over the years. I feel it has little to do with the larger brand idea, and all those celebrities in the video make it look crowded and unimpressive," he says.