afaqs!

Unleash your naughty side with Ford Ikon

By Khushboo Tanna , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | January 27, 2009
The new Ford Ikon commercial reveals how you can have fun and be responsible at the same time

What is the perfect amalgamation of naughty and nice? According to a new commercial launched by Ford India, it has to be the new Ford Ikon.

The TV commercial shows two old friends meeting out of the blue at a shopping mall. One woman asks the other about her husband, who was well known as 'Wild Rohit' in the past. Rohit's wife says she has tamed him and lists the things she has "taught" her husband since marriage, two important lessons being politeness and maturity.

Even as his wife is ticking off the lessons he has learnt since he married her, Rohit is shown having fun driving his Ford Ikon. He then zooms in to pick up his wife right on time, thus enjoying the best of both worlds.

The & #BANNER1 & # campaign has been conceptualised by JWT Chennai and shot by Raajesh Saathi of Kerosene Films. The film was shot in and around Bengaluru in three days.

The brief given to the agency was to retain the peppiness of the original Ford Ikon, which had the tagline, The Josh Machine, because diesel cars are perceived to be sluggish performers. The new diesel variant sports a different tagline: 'Sensible Bhi, Crazy Bhi'.

Mythili Chandrasekar, senior vice-president and executive planning director, JWT, gives an insight on the change in tagline. She says that the 'Josh' aspect is articulated as "crazy", while the great diesel mileage is captured in "sensible". The tagline portrays the car in the sweet spot between fun and frugality.

Ashwin Parthiban, associate vice-president and senior creative director, JWT, tells afaqs! that they had to portray the naughty as well as the nice side of the car, so they decided to portray it through a married couple. The husband appears to be sensible and mature when his wife is around. But when he is alone, he indulges his peppy and playful side.

The Ford Ikon diesel intends to take the Josh lineage further, for it shows a Ford Ikon user who has just got married or been promoted at work. In that sense, the target group is more life-stage centric, rather than age specific. Broadly, Ford Ikon wants to target consumers between 25 and 35 years of age.

Besides, the company now plans to target the upper class in Tier II cities apart from the metros. Sanjeev Shukla, general manager, marketing, Ford India, tells afaqs!, "Although, there is consistent sales growth in the metros, Tier II cities are also increasing their demand for the car."

This is why certain nuances were kept in mind for the TVC, such as the way the women are dressed, deciding on a shopping mall as the venue, or even showing roads with less traffic and more greenery. As Shukla says, "We kept several things in mind so that the consumers in Tier II cities could relate to the ad."

The campaign was released nationally on January 23. The TVC will be seen on news, general interest and entertainment channels over a period of six weeks. It will be supported by a print and online campaign.

afaqs! spoke to people from the industry to find out their take on the commercial.

Ramesh Kumar, vice-president, strategy planning, O&M, says, "While a brand can stand for more than one value, contradictions within the set could cause confusion. I don't know if I should buy this car because it is sensible or because it is crazy."

However, he adds that the creative execution delivers on the brief. He also hopes there is a sizeable segment of sensible, yet crazy, people out there, who will be ready to buy the car.

Sandip Mahapatra, vice-president and head, planning, McCann Erickson, is of the opinion that the driver in the TVC is quite rash. He says, "A very important social message filters through the TVC. As long as mothers, girlfriends and wives continue to think no end of the boys in their lives, our roads will not be safe."

However, Shukla of Ford clarifies that although the male model is seen swivelling the car and zooming past girls on bicycles, he does so in places where there isn't much traffic. Also, there are no instances of him jumping red lights or moving through heavy traffic. The film, therefore, implies that he is driving safely and not breaking any traffic rules.

Among other creative professionals, Sukumar Menon, who has just started his own agency, Black Swan Life, says that the creative rendition leaves one wondering what's so sensible and what's so crazy about the car - it's the man who seems to be so, in turn.

He ends by saying that it is a good idea to humanise a functional benefit as long as it's clearly understood, but that's not the case in this ad.