From an automotive to a funky gadget for a secret agent

By Anushree Bhattacharyya , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | August 31, 2011
Conceptualised by Ogilvy India, the television campaign for the Tata Aria is based on the premise that men who love gadgets will love the snazzy gadgetry.

The new commercial for the Tata Aria strays from the beaten path of automobile ads talking about salient features, and benefits such as speed and mileage. Conceptualised by Ogilvy India, the new route turns the man-made automotive into a funky gadget.

The television commercial (TVC), titled The Chase, shows a secret agent in the driver's seat, along with his unsuspecting wife and son. Suddenly, he is attacked by the 'bad guys', and from that very moment begins a high-adrenaline chase. Ambushed by the bad guys, the secret agent uses the hi-tech wizardry of the new Tata Aria to shake them off his trail. Maintaining his cool, and throwing in some witty one-liners along the way, he manages to outsmart the bad guys and impresses his son but not his wife, showing that in the presence of their wives, secret agents are mere mortals, too.

The television campaign is based on the premise that men who love gadgets will love the snazzy gadgetry of the Tata Aria.

Rajesh Nair, head, Utility Vehicles, Tata Motors, says, "The Tata Aria promises luxury that thrills. It's the coming together of the old-world comfort and new-age wizardry to redefine luxury. The TVC was scripted around a high-adrenaline chase theme, which showcased the Aria in its full glory and highlighted its hi-tech features. So, men who love gadgets will surely favour the snazzy gadgetry of the Tata Aria."

Speaking about the concept, Abhijit Avasthi, national creative director, Ogilvy India, says, "The Tata Aria is an exciting car, especially when you start discovering its various features. The television spot had to capture this excitement. It had to be a journey of discovery - an adventure. This was the task set before the creative team. And, from this was born 'The Chase' - a spoof on Hollywood's Bond-type thrillers."

Thrilled to the core?

The TVC got a mixed bag of responses from the advertising fraternity.

Calling the TVC a childish attempt, Vivek Dutta, business director and national planning head, Hakuhodo Percept, says, "The problem is not in the communication but the desired positioning. The brand seems to be trying too hard to position itself in the top end of the MUV segment. Unfortunately, the dissonance created by attaching luxury to brand Tata is quite palpable. Maybe that's why the TVC comes across as a bit childish and forced.

"Having said that, I am sure that a serious luxury car buyer wants to see much more sophisticated communication, instead of a bombardment of 'I-have-seen-that-before' type features."

According to Raghu Bhat, co-founder and chief creative officer, Scarecrow Communications, through the TVC, the automobile company and the agency have broken away from the cliché. He says, "Automobile advertising has a couple of givens. The vehicle needs to be fairly visible. Plus, there would be the driving shots to demonstrate features like manoeuvrability and acceleration. Despite these, the ad is very irreverent and fun to watch. The chase sequences have been filmed well."

Bhat explains, "Usually, vehicle advertising is a bit serious. Marketers are paranoid about coming across as 'frivolous'. But, here the brand embraces humour whole-heartedly and leaves a positive impression. The ad also conveys an added dimension of sportiness, which is an important attribute for the younger drivers."

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