CEAT Tyres: Toughening the grip on idiots

By Biprorshee Das , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | November 24, 2010
Launching a 360-degree campaign for its bike tyres, CEAT takes a dig at jaywalkers and traffic violators on the roads, emphasising on its product's superior grip.

The perils of driving on Indian roads are well-known. If not the bad road conditions, lack of traffic sense causes trouble for drivers aplenty. With this insight, CEAT's campaign for its bike tyres talks of keeping 'idiots' at bay, with the help of its products that facilitate better grip on the roads.

As part of the 360-degree marketing campaign to promote the bike tyres, the two television commercials created by Ogilvy India drive home the point that the roads would always be full of those who throw caution to the winds; but with CEAT bike tyres, at least the rider is assured of safety.

The first film shows a man talking nineteen to the dozen on his mobile phone, as he strolls on the street pushing a pram. Absorbed in conversation, he abruptly turns to cross the street, and a biker driving on the road stops in the nick of time before the man. Ironically, it is the man who appears disgusted, as he yells at the biker, asking if he is blind.

The other film features a couple returning from a movie on a bike. As they discuss the film, they are in for a rude shock, when a car filled with youngsters speeds right across their path. Again, the man riding the bike jams his brakes just in time, averting a major mishap.

Both films end with a voiceover saying that the streets are filled with idiots, which is why CEAT tyres are designed for superior grip on the road.

The creative idea behind the films suggests that since the idiots cannot be taken off the roads and must be dealt with regularly, it is important that the tyres should have a superior grip, to enable one to stop at will and avoid fatal accidents.

The films have been directed by Shyam Madiraju, and the production house is Magic Hour Films India.

Talking to afaqs!, Anup Chitnis, executive creative director, Ogilvy India says, "The keyword is grip. From a biker's perspective, grip is important, because people keep coming in the way on the streets; and whether you like it or not, an accident more or less leads to the biker being at the receiving end. With this insight came the idea, which led to the execution."

Arnab Banerjee, executive director, operations, CEAT says, "We wanted to own the property of good road grip. This is an essential characteristic of the tyre, especially on Indian roads. We also wanted to have a connect with human life on roads, which led to the human insight."

The TVCs are being supported by print, outdoor and digital promotions. The company has also launched the website, www.beidiotsafe.com, as a social initiative that attempts to acquaint the visitor with different types of people who do not follow road etiquette, traffic rules and regulations. The website focuses on bad driving, traffic violations and other dangerous road habits.

On the cause-based marketing approach, Banerjee says, "Companies are increasingly adopting the strategy, as it helps brands as well as society at large. We felt that there is a need to address the road discipline issue, as India scores the highest globally when it comes to road accident deaths."

CEAT has also launched a mobile game, which Banerjee hopes will catch on as a viral, and is betting on digital promotions as a way to reach the intended target group.

Gripping work

The films have met with a positive response. Experts appreciate the authenticity of the insight and the believable way in which the product proposition is presented.

Deepesh Jha, executive creative director, Lowe Delhi says that the films present the product in a way that can be easily related to and does not look exaggerated.

"The films present the argument of grip in a very real, candid way. In a category where most tyre commercials show clouds on roads for ride comfort, 15-foot nails to show toughness, avalanches and landslides as reasons to have better braking and so on and so forth depending on budget and post production finesse, these commercials take real reasons in which one has to apply brakes," says Jha.

"Interestingly done. Jaywalkers or rash drivers are the real obstacles anybody faces on the road, and that is why one needs a better tyre," he adds.

Jha further says that that the protagonists are real and the treatment does not exaggerate the events. Both these factors work in the films' favour, as they highlight the need to stop right when needed.

Rajesh Sharma, planning head, Mumbai, TBWA India too puts in an appreciative word for the campaign, saying that for a category that is not talked about much, the films will make a biker sit up and take notice. Being a biker himself, Sharma thinks that the insight is relevant and is true for all riders.

"Astute observation. I feel like the planner/creative has been through situations like these. I ride a bike myself and I could not agree more with the thought of the commercial. Everyone from the 'car-wallahs' to the pedestrian on the street chooses to ignore bikers. I remember after seeing the ad, I had told a friend, 'Yes, idiots are what we find everywhere'," he says.

"I think that this is a purely product film that rides on a fantastic insight. If people learn from it and stop being idiots, that is a bonus. The product benefit is out there in the open for all to see; and the shots of the deeply treaded tyres and the voiceover provide a fair reason to believe the benefit," adds Sharma.

Commenting further on the cause-based marketing route being adopted by many brands, he says that the heart of most brands seems to be in the right place, with the main message doing justice to the cause. He cites the popular Jaago Re campaign of Tata Tea as an example.

"We have to market anyway. Why not create a positive change in the process? It makes everyone feel good. It definitely feels much better to know that your marketing is helping other people. And in today's world of marketing hyperbole, it also helps create a positive imagery and empathy with consumers. Cause-based marketing is here to stay," says Sharma.

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