will your world be like when you drive the new Honda City? According to a commercial for the brand it will have lush green valleys, beautiful mountains and picturesque waterfalls.
The commercial shows a bright red Honda City cruising through some splendid landscapes. The driver manoeuvres the car through a waterfall in which he sees his own reflection. The car races past the reflection and comes to a stop. The driver steps out of the car and realises that he was imagining the setting while he was driving, so smooth was the performance of his car. As the music track speaks of "getting ahead of yourself", the ad ends with the voiceover, 'Enjoy Your Challenges'.
The creative brief
Adrian Mendonza, national creative director, Dentsu Marcom, says that the ad has a threefold agenda. One, they wanted the new Honda City to be recognised as a large player and not a niche player. Two, Honda wanted to highlight the fact that the new car was totally different from its earlier version, and not just a revamped model with a few added features. Three, the company wanted to increase its sales by targeting a new segment - young people who possibly own a small car such as a WagonR or a Santro and are looking to upgrade.
Honda Siel Cars has been in India for a decade, but this is its first ever major TVC for a specific car model. In 2005, the company did a TV campaign to announce the launch of the first generation of the Honda City. Last year, it launched a corporate ad to celebrate 10 years of operation in India. However, both these campaigns enjoyed a rather brief run. So, in a sense, this is Honda's first major campaign in India.
Anita Sharma, general manager, marketing communications, Honda Siel Cars, explains the timing of the campaign: "All our previous cars were designed for a niche segment, so TV would have been futile then. This time, we wanted to widen the appeal."
With this campaign, Honda Siel Cars decided to change the target group from the successful, well-settled, middle-aged people who were the buyers of the old Honda City, to a younger audience aged 25-35 years.
Amalgamation of many firsts
Strings was sent the lyrics and shown the raw footage of the campaign. The band compiled the music and gave it a Sufi feel, a genre in which it is comfortable. The song was recorded at a studio in Karachi and the final mixing was done at Famous Studios in Mumbai.
The agency is currently in the process of doing some innovations in the digital space, such as creating virals, microsites and creative banner ads for the car. Dentsu and Honda will also provide customised ringtones and caller tunes because they feel that the music has the potential to become very popular. Besides these innovations, the usual media mix of print and outdoor will be used.
The 'waterfall' story
The TVC was shot in Kerala and Mumbai. The opening sequence of the film has been shot in Munnar and the waterfall sequence in Athirapally, both in Kerala. Since special effects were being used, the entire waterfall shot was recreated in Mukesh Mills in Mumbai.
Sarkar tells afaqs!, "While the film was shot over five days, we took five extra days to recreate the waterfall set in Mumbai. We had to use 65 tankers of water (1.5 lakh litres) to recreate the scene and make it look natural."
The industry reacts
Akshay Kapnadak, creative director, McCann Erickson, says, "I don't quite get it. Are they trying to tell me that by purchasing the new look Honda City (and it does look great), I am challenging myself? How? Other than that, there are the mandatory car shots in an exotic location and the new improved features. And that's enough reason for anyone to buy the car. Not because I want to challenge myself."