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Shriram Transport Finance: Cheers to the truck driver

By Biprorshee Das , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | February 19, 2010
Commercial vehicle finance company, Shriram Transport Finance has launched an initiative to highlight the importance of truck drivers and the need for a fleet of younger trucks

Remember the transporters' strike not too long ago, when all trucks went off the road? With a major chunk of freight in India transported by road, essential supplies were disrupted and a significant impact on inflation was feared as well.

To bring to the fore the importance of truck drivers to the economy, commercial vehicle finance company, Shriram Transport Finance Company has launched an awareness initiative.

"This campaign is dedicated to the 'small transporter', who owns one to four trucks. The truck driver is an unsung hero. We want to change the common perception towards them," says Pravin Puntambekar, vice-president, Shriram Transport Finance Company.

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Designed by Manish Bhatt and Raghu Bhat's newly floated agency, Scarecrow Communications, the campaign aims at mobilising public opinion in favour of maintaining a younger truck fleet. The focus of the campaign is the small truck owner, and his critical role in maintaining supply chains, facilitating exports and sustaining the economy.

"Lal Bahadur Shastri said 'Jaya Jawan Jaya Kisan'. While the nation understands the importance of the soldier and the farmer to the country, one must know that truck drivers are just as important, since they literally drive the economy," insists Manish Bhatt, founder and director, Scarecrow Communications.

The campaign stresses the need for newer trucks for better efficiency. It talks about how trucks are used for more than 15 years, as transporters are unable to upgrade their vehicles, due to the lack of access to institutional credit.

The week-old campaign, which will run up to February 24, is largely being driven through print and digital. The print creative directs people to the micro-site that has been designed for the campaign --www.okhornplease.com, where support for the initiative can be registered by 'blowing the horn'. Over 120,000 people have pledged their support on the site so far.

Scarecrow Communications' co-founder and director, Raghu Bhat says that television was deliberately avoided, since the medium only helps to build an emotional connect. He adds that the larger message is better conveyed through print and stays longer in the mind.

The secondary objective of the campaign is to highlight Shriram Transport Finance's new initiatives -- Automall, One Stop and Newlook -- that will help the small transporter to upgrade to a newer truck.

The company plans to open Automall across 50 locations in the country, where truck owners can walk in to buy commercial vehicles, without requiring the services of brokers. One Stop is a computerised touch-screen kiosk, which will be set up across the company's 500 branches, and will provide real-time information about trucks available for sale. Old trucks will be refurbished and sold under the brand name, Newlook, with the truck's commercial value enhanced.

Besides Scarecrow Communications, creative agencies RK Swamy/BBDO and Anugrah Madison also work with Shriram Transport Finance.

On Scarecrow handling the project, Puntambekar says, "We have not broken any old associations. We liked the ideas Scarecrow had for the campaign, and hence, decided to bring them on-board."

Around Rs 5 crore is being spent on the campaign.