Effies 2009: A ballet for the bikers, a mania follows

By Biprorshee Das , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | December 16, 2009
Without product upgrades, extravagant campaigns or celebrity endorsements, Bajaj Pulsar chose to face competition with what was called 'Pulsar Mania'

Facing the heat from competition that rode ahead with its many product variants, high-decibel campaigns and celebrity endorsements, Bajaj Pulsar needed to act quickly to regain dwindling market share.

What followed was a television commercial called 'Pulsar Mania', which focused on the power, aggression and grace of biking and captured attention like never before.

At the presentation round of the Effies 2009, Ogilvy India presented its case study for the Pulsar Mania campaign, shortlisted in the Consumer Durables category.

The agency representatives chose the 'Mac vs. Windows' ad format to present the case study. One representative was Pulsar; while the other was Hero Honda.

In the comparisons that were made, Hero Honda was shown as the motorcycle with regular upgrades, wide variants and large scale ad spends; while Pulsar had little to show with its bikes and modest campaigns.

Pulsar Mania was to change the perspectives that had earlier led to the Pulsar falling behind Hero Honda, the agency claimed in the presentation.

Pulsar ads have always been about creating an image and attitude around biking; and the bike ballet was no different, it added.

The commercial started with six bikers, all in black, on an empty road, ready to show off their biking skills. All sorts of bike stunts were performed subsequently - one-wheel biking, swirling, riding with both feet off the bike, and many more.

The stunts in the film were actually performed on camera and no special effects were used.
The ad featured the world's top bike riders, including from Ireland, Brazil, Spain and South Africa. Among them were world No. 2 AC Farias, and Mattie Griffin, who is among the top five bikers in the world.

The commercial was followed with on-ground activity and road shows with stuntmen enacting the stunts. The ad triggered many blog discussions and mentions on the internet.

Pulsar also tied up with MTV for a reality show called Pulsar MTV Stunt Mania - a clear attempt to encroach on Hero Honda territory, since the brand has long been associated with MTV Roadies.

Pulsar Mania fetched Pulsar more than what it could have hoped for - its market share rose to 56 per cent and sales grew by 10 per cent in one month as claimed by the agency. The ad remains one of the most viewed and highly debated online, said Ogilvy in the presentation.

At the final round of presentations, 33 shortlisted case studies were presented across six categories - Mobile Advertising, Consumer Products, Corporate Advertising, Services, Consumer Durables and Integrated Advertising Campaign.

The Effies 2009 awards, organised by The Advertising Club Bombay will be given away tonight.

© 2009 afaqs!