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Bajaj 'Discovers' a way to mock Hero MotoCorp

By Ashwini Gangal and Shibani Gharat , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | February 15, 2012
In its latest ad film for the Discover, Bajaj Auto attempts to dislodge its competitor Hero's bikes in a tongue-in-cheek manner.

Bajaj Discover

The tactic of openly taking a dig at one's competition, albeit with the help of well-timed beeps (that presumably save brands from legal loopholes) has found its way into the Bajaj Auto-Hero MotoCorp two-wheeler battle. The former recently rolled out a television commercial for its commuter master brand, Discover, which openly takes on Hero's popular two-wheeler offerings, Splendor and Passion.

Titled 'Chalta Hai', the campaign positions the Discover as a commuter bike that offers brand propositions best described as 'higher order benefits' such as power and thrill to its riders, namely, everyday commuters. The positioning is aligned to Bajaj Auto's strategy of democratising performance. In sync with this goal, the campaign carries the baseline 'Chalta nahin daudta hai'.

Abhijit Avasthi

K Srinivas, president, motorcycle business, Bajaj Auto explains that though auto brands have been talking about mileage and maintenance for years, these parameters no longer help drive brand preference as consumers see them as generic qualities. Instead, what the consumers are looking for is a better "drive-feel", even from commuter bike offerings. The objective of the communication is thus to reflect the fact that Discover loyalists find their ride extremely exciting.

The commuter testimonials shown in the film represent the sentiment of people who ride the competition's offerings. According to Abhijit Avasthi (aka Kinu), national creative director, Ogilvy Mumbai (the agency that has created this ad), the creative idea is unique as it is a testimonial by those who don't have the product and really wish they had it.

"It takes a light-hearted dig at those with the 'Chalta hai' attitude in life," he says.

Campaign Chalta Hai or Daudta Hai?

afaqs! also finds out whether the mock-and-beep tactic is a 'done-to-death' formula best left alone or whether it has managed to impress communication experts.

Santosh Padhi

Prathap Suthan

Santosh Padhi (aka Paddy), chief creative officer and co-founder, Taproot India is of the opinion that this ad does two things simultaneously - it conveys the brand's proposition of thrill and takes on the competition. According to him, the brand would be better off focusing on either one instead of both.

"It would have been great had they leveraged their big idea, that is, 'Chalta nahi daudta hai', rather than getting into the beep part of it, which is actually doing nothing for the brand. What the consumer will remember is the 'Chalta hai' attitude, not the beep," he says.

He adds that if a brand needs to attack its competition, then it should do so keeping everything else aside.

Prathap Suthan (aka Pat), chief creative officer, iYogi and founder, The Advisory, feels that old as it is, the tactic of leveraging a brand by mocking the competition appeals to Indian consumers' primal instinct. "All of us like to sit on the side and applaud a fight," he enthuses.

Pat opines that the proposition of speed is Bajaj Auto's disguise for a deeper objective. "My gut says that this film is more than just an ad to take the Discover ahead. This is a brutal move by Bajaj to weaken a now vulnerable Hero. With Honda out of the partnership, and with Honda taking away all the exotic engineering genetics out of the relationship, this is the time for Bajaj to chop the legs of Hero that is now susceptible to pillage," Suthan analyses.

Strategically speaking, he calls this a brilliant move on the part of Bajaj.

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