Catfights for the Bajaj XCD 135

By Savia Jane Pinto , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | February 24, 2009
The latest ad film by O&M is a true catfight to get the very male XCD 135 DTS Si

Black leather tights, high heels, drama, sound effects and stunts are part of the tryst to get on to the back of this new bike.

The Bajaj XCD 135 DTS Si bike promises to give all that you wished for in your commuter bike, with a catfight thrown in. The bike has cool features such as a five- speed gear box and front disc brakes, not to mention enough chutzpah to have the ladies craving for a pillion ride, considering that it is a mid-segment bike.

The TV commercial opens on the shot of a girl in leather pants, running down a corridor and tripping. Close on her heels is another girl, similarly attired, who tries to prevent her from opening the door. A fight ensues, complete with stunts and special effects. Leaving the girls to their stunts, the camera moves to a shot of a wall in the house.

Framed photographs on the wall suggest that the two girls are sisters. While the fight continues, one wonders what it is all about. Finally, one girl tricks the other, locks her up and is soon on her way out. As she steps out, it becomes obvious that the entire catfight was to decide who'd ride on the single pillion seat on the Bajaj XCD 135 DTS Si.

The rest of the film has speeding and slow shots of the bike, highlighting its features.

Get the babe

Amit Nandi, general manager, marketing, Bajaj Auto, explains that this campaign picks up from the Pulsar communication, because "it is a junior version of the Pulsar." Aimed at youngsters in the middle segment, this bike is basically for commuting, with a few sporty connotations.

"The bike is pegged as a 'chick magnet', a lot like how the Pulsar is definitely male," says Abhijit Avasthi, executive creative director, South Asia, O&M.

Nandi adds, "The mid-segment is almost 50 per cent of the motorcycle market." The need for a strong product in the segment gave birth to the XCD 135 DTS Si.

Wheels! Women! Action!

Avasthi insisted that Prakash Varma of Nirvana Films work on the film. The ad was shot over three days in Film City. The stunts, which Avasthi says is probably a form of martial arts, were choreographed by Huan-Chiu Ku, who has choreographed for Quentin Tarantino directed Kill Bill. Closer home, Ku has also choreographed for the Hindi movie, Chandni Chowk to China.

The film is devoid of a soundtrack and goes ahead with sound effects extracted from a stock library. Sneha Iype, executive producer, Nirvana Films, shares details of the making of the film. Iype says that loads of films were referred before actually chalking out the fight scene in the film.

"The film had to be gripping and engaging. An additional soundtrack would have pulled the viewer away from the catfight and added layers of interpretation," explains Iype, which is why Varma was sure that he didn't want to use a background score. Evans Roberts from The Gunnery was the sound engineer.

Iype adds, "The zooming shots of the bike were wide shots in motion, while the slow shots were tight shots, taken with plates." Since the features of the bike could not be shown in motion, cutaway shots (close ups exposed as still frames and later composited online) were used.

They think…

Suman Srivastava, chief executive officer and planning head, Euro RSCG, and head of planning on first instance found the ad disjointed. "The idea is okay but it isn't strategically different," says Srivastava.

Rahul Jauhari, head, creative, Pickle Advertising, is impressed with the way the film is made - slick action, great editing and great bike shots as well. However, Jauhari says that the premise of women fighting over a bike isn't novel. "This film stops at being another execution, although slick, of an old idea," says Jauhari.

The campaign will also include print, radio, on-ground activation and the Internet.

© 2009 afaqs!