Delhi goes on a night car rally with Swift

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | March 24, 2009
Maruti Suzuki gets 80 Swift cars to participate in a night rally held in Delhi, in association with Fever 104 FM

When Maruti Suzuki positioned Swift as a car for those who like a bit of fun and excitement in their lives, this must have been the kind of stuff the company was talking about. The car company held a rally on the night of March 21, with 80 Swift owners zipping past each other to be proclaimed as the winner. The rally was held in partnership with Fever 104 FM.

Shashank Srivastava, chief general manager of marketing, Maruti Suzuki, says, "This is the first night- rally that Delhi has seen. It was not just great fun, but also brought out Swift's brand positioning very well. The car stands for fun and excitement; and most of the people who go for Swift are those with a youthful mindset. The event was a perfect testimony to that."

The rally was also the car company's way of celebrating the launch of an exclusive Swift owners' club --Swift Life Club.

The contestants were waved off from Pragati Maidan in Delhi, and the rally culminated at Mehrauli, with five pit-stops on the route. The drivers started off with their Swifts, without knowing where the finishing point was -- clues to their destination were being provided on Fever 104 FM. The participants were also asked some questions, on the basis of which they could earn bonus points.

The radio station also aired regular updates and contests to translate the on-ground frenzy on-air and to make the non-participating Swift owners a part of the rally. Neeraj Chaturvedi, Station Head - Delhi, Fever 104 FM, says, "The entire rally was integrated on-air by our radio station, right from two Fever jockeys covering the event to playing song requests of the participants. Apart from organising the rally, we also provided pre-event promotional support. Our brief was to make it interesting, not just to the participants, but also to the non-participants."

Fever also hosted an after-event party for the participants and their families.

The 80 participants were chosen on first-come-first-serve basis from existing Swift owners, through requests on Fever FM, dealer contacts and other promotions. The response to the invitation for rally, says Chaturvedi, was so huge that they got the 80 racers in the first half of the first day itself.

On the challenges faced on the run-up to the rally, Srivastava says that the basic hassle was to get all the police permissions. A good amount of time was also devoted to ensuring the safety of all the participants.

The first prize, a Panasonic 26" LCD TV, was given to Kartik Batra and his team, while the second prize and the third prize went to Mukesh Kaushik and Siddharth respectively.

When asked why the company devoted a campaign to its existing customers, instead of targeting new ones, Srivastava says, "Because they are the best salespeople for any company. If you keep your current customers happy, you start a great word-of-mouth campaign. In fact, research shows that 80-85 per cent of customers, while thinking of buying a car or some other high-investment product, take inputs from those who already own one. Thus, it makes sense to engage your existing customers."

© 2009 afaqs!