afaqs!

Tata Motors engages customers through a street skit

By Chhavi Tyagi , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | August 24, 2009
The company engaged its target consumers through street plays for its new product, Tata Motors 407 Pickup

The company recently launched a new commercial vehicle, the Tata Motors 407 Pickup, and assigned TIC-Integrated Marketing Services with the duty to take it to its target group (TG) in Gujarat and now Maharashtra, which includes existing and probable owners of pickups.

The brief was to communicate to this TG the four benefits of the vehicle - pre-load capacity of the new product, mileage, low maintenance and less turning radius - to bring out the superiority of the product over its competition. Instead of doing a launch event, the agency decided to execute the communication at existing locations where these pickup owners generally assemble.

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The idea was to engross a wider array of consumers and not just the intentional buyers. A launch event instead would have got only the probable buyers.

A senior executive at TIC, tells afaqs!, "Besides, it is really difficult to engage this segment of consumers, and a different communication strategy was required to educate them on the brand, product and the category."

Considering all these factors, the agency decided to take the campaign to where its TG was and in an environment they were comfortable in - 'nakas'. Nakas, explains Katara, are stands where these owners, who are engaged in carrying goods ranging from grocery, dairy products, furniture to poultry, liquor, fabrication equipment and raw material for SMEs, assemble after delivering their goods.

After deciding on the locations, the agency conceptualised the communication strategy to generate enough interest in this category. An insight, which later formed the basis of the communication, was that while waiting at these nakas, these people generally spent their time playing cards.

Customising the communication based on this behavioural insight, the agency brought out the four advantages by branding the four aces of a card set, calling it Char Sau Saat ke Chaar Ikke (four aces of 407).

Knowing that it will be difficult to engage the TG through a direct and dry sales pitch, the agency created a street play to get the message across. "We wanted to drive the message through the simple activities that these consumers do in their daily lives. Getting technical from the word go may not have created the same impact which a street play did, says the TIC executive.

To create a pre-hype, a few 'dhol-wallas' went around the nakas, informing people to sit and listen to the story of 'Char Sau Saat ke Chaar Ikke'. Getting a fabricated version of the vehicle, which was also used as the stage for the play, was another technique used to pique the interest of the consumers.

The skit showed a group of pickup owners discussing the woes with their current vehicles over a game of cards. A 'well-informed' person walking by overhears their discussion and expresses surprise that they didn't know about the '4 ikkas' of the new 407. The skit culminated with a detailed product-pitch. Simple Gujarati was used as the language, both on the cards as well as in the play, to get through to the TG.

This skit was taken to 19 cities in Gujarat in a span of 44 days, engaging more than 2,000 consumers. The campaign is currently going on in Maharashtra, with plans to take it to other states as well.

Though the specified objective of the campaign was just to inform, the campaign scored so high on the impact meter that it bagged a few on the spot bookings for the vehicle as well, with many consumers showing an intent to buy in the near future.

The campaign, after generating interest, also had test drive facilities for the consumers to give them a touch and feel of the product.