Maruti Suzuki adds the K-factor

By Savia Jane Pinto , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | August 06, 2009
Maruti Suzuki claims that its K-series of engines gives the best of both worlds -- power and fuel efficiency

In ads, seldom do we see a part of the product take up screen space, instead of the product itself. But Maruti Suzuki felt the need to do so in its latest TVC, which focuses on the new K-series of engines.

The car manufacturer wants consumers to know that technological improvements have brought in an engine that has the deadly combination of fuel efficiency, smaller size and more power. Therefore, the latest ad is for its engines, and not its cars.

Did you K-now

The engine is presently a part of two Maruti Suzuki cars -- A-Star and Ritz. The engines are being manufactured at the company's Gurgaon plant.

The creative team at Capital Advertising worked on the brief set by Maruti Suzuki. The brief, according to Sunila Dhar, assistant general manager, marketing at Maruti Suzuki, was to introduce a more fuel- efficient, lighter and powerful engine.

The team at Capital, which worked on the campaign, included Parshu Narayanan, creative head; Joy Mohanty and Rupak Mitra, creative directors and Supriya Pradhan, associate vice-president.

Mohanty explains that most automobile engineers aim to create an engine that is smaller, fuel-efficient and doesn't disappoint on power. Cars have been able achieve these characteristics individually, but balancing all three is a challenging task. The K-series of engine aims to do just this.

Thus, the tagline is: 'Leaner. Meaner. Fitter.'

Machine within the man

The film opens on a race, where a sprinter takes off and finishes first. He goes on to join a marathon and aces that as well. Despite crossing the finish line, the sprinter doesn't stop running. The camera zooms in to focus on his calf muscles and the skin gives way to show that inside is a machine that keeps him going. At the heart of this machine is a K-series engine.

The film is directed by Farouk Aljoffery of Planet Films and was shot over two days in Kuala Lumpur and Putragaya. The main character was chosen for his athletic prowess. The live shots of the athlete were shot in a stadium and at other locations, which were then integrated with the computer graphics.

Post-production was carried out by Hong-Kong based Many Many Creations. The post-production team created a robot in the likeness of the main character, for the scenes where the machine is shown inside the body. Three weeks of research and character development was carried out to establish the look of the robot, prior to shooting the film. The K-series engine and the interchangeable cars towards the end of the film were also done through CG (computer graphics).

The task for Capital was to combine the attributes of power and fuel efficiency. "Hence, the parallel with the sprinter," says Mohanty. A sprinter is trained to run limited distances at great speeds; while a marathoner is a longer distance runner, and isn't necessarily very fast.

Using the sprinter as a metaphor for the engine, the agency says, was a route it chose to show that the K-series could go that extra mile when you need. Also with better fuel efficiency, the emissions are much less -- an added bonus when resources are scarce and environmental issues are big.

Get, Set, Go

The ad probably comes a bit too soon after the machine-becoming-man Hollywood movie Transformers-2, and rings a bell of similarity. Also, Bajaj recently did a similar ad, where three of its bikes come to life in a robotic manner, la 'Transformers', thanks to their twin spark engines.

Mohanty insists that the ad isn't inspired from the movie, but is only a means to depict metaphorically how a better engine can create a marathoner out of a sprinter.

afaqs! spoke to a few in the industry to ask them if the ad sprinted right through or stayed on longer.

Kartik Iyer, co-founder, Happy Creative Services, thinks the ad is all over the place. Pushpinder Singh of Saints & Warriors feels that the proposition comes through in the film.

Iyer, though, is a tad disappointed, as he feels that with a category such as this, much more could have been done; and the execution, too, falls short.

The campaign will utilise print, hoardings and the Internet. These are still in the pipeline and will happen along the way.

MSIL plans to bring in the K series engines, which are light weight, future ready and environmental friendly, for most of its models. Currently, A-star and Ritz come fitted with the K series engine.

© 2009 afaqs!