Marrying idea with features

By Shibani Gharat , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | February 20, 2012
Skoda India's new campaign for the Rapid weaves a story around the Big Fat Indian Wedding.

If Skoda India is to be believed, the checklist for a big fat Indian wedding just got longer. Courtesy, of course, the Skoda Rapid Check!

The television commercial, created by Saatchi & Saatchi, opens with the entry of the protagonist in a palatial Indian wedding set up. Colours, house-helpers, flowing linen and flowers aid and build the scenario. Looming wedding preparations are depicted through the length of the TVC, resting only on the final day - the actual ceremony.

Skoda Rapid is shown to play an integral role in all the diverse situations - from ferrying the flowers to the venue, driving the bridesmaids (wearing mehendi) comfortably and picking up relatives and guests for the ceremonies. The film concludes with a new prospective bride and groom meeting.

The entire commercial is bound together by a voiceover that enlists the needs of an Indian wedding and a checklist box that gets ticked every time the Skoda Rapid enters the frame.

The TVC attempts to blend the great needs of an Indian family during a wedding with Skoda Rapid's features.

Speaking about the TVC, Thomas Kuehl, head, brand and member of the board, sales and marketing, Skoda Auto India, says, "At Skoda, we believe that a car is much more than a mere product. It is an extension of an individual and this insight has helped us arrive at the positioning, 'Built to be Thoughtful'."

He says that the backdrop of the Indian wedding in the campaign demonstrates the emotional connect between a family and a car. "Since a wedding for an Indian family is valuable, emotional and a grand occasion, it is a perfect fit to partake in the celebrations with the Skoda Rapid," adds Kuehl.

Ramanuj Shastry

The TVC is produced by Fingerprints Films. It is directed by Sam Ahmad and the media agency is Mediacom.

Ramanuj Shastry, chief creative officer, Saatchi & Saatchi, says, "Skoda Rapid is a 'happy times' car. It is also a family car, owned and used by various members of the family. It is 'our' car more than 'my' car, unlike a BMW or an Audi."

He adds that in order to dramatise the 'thoughtfulness' of the Skoda Rapid, they chose the big, fat Indian wedding, which is supposedly the ultimate torture test for any car. "It's the only time when not just the badge value of the car but its workhorse-like qualities also matter. A car for the Indian wedding has to be spacious, comfortable, dependable and economical."

To give Skoda loyalists on Facebook a chance to view the ad before everyone else, the TVC was first launched on Facebook around 24 hours before it went live on TV. To support the TVC, other media such as radio and print are also being explored. Social media will also be exploited in a big way for the Skoda Rapid.

Married to the idea

Marriages and automobiles often go hand in hand in advertising. Volkswagen had launched a TVC around a year ago, which had a wedding set up where a bride leaves her maternal home in a Beetle.

A part of the Maruti Suzuki corporate commercial had the newly married bride and groom driving towards their home in one of the cars from the company's stable.

Sujit Das

Nilesh Vaidya

Similarly, General Motor's Chevrolet, too, had a bride's 'bidaai' as a part of its TVC. Interestingly, Chevrolet had also created a TVC where an elephant was symbolically used as a high maintenance vehicle and the ad concluded with the elephant, all decorated to carry the family to the wedding venue, not ready to move forward. Toyota's corporate ad, titled Bharosa, also opened with a wedding set up.

Marital bliss?

So will Skoda Rapid's new TVC find bliss? Industry experts feel that the whole wedding plot is done to death.

"The plot is not that innovative, but I loved the execution," says Sujit Das, executive creative director, Pickle Lintas. He feels that from the perspective of a car, there is nothing much that the consumers will really sit up and take notice of.

Nilesh Vaidya, executive creative director, Rediffusion-Y&R thinks that it is a warm, likable and eminently watchable film. "Is it a breakthrough idea? I don't think so. A film for a hatchback a few years ago was all about having the space needed to cater to the great Indian wedding (it ended with a joke that stuck, the groom's friend saying he didn't carry the wedding ring because there wasn't enough space!). But this Skoda film is not an ad about space alone, and its scale and tonality take it into a totally different zone, one that we emotional Indians are quite likely to smile at.

"I think it'll work for the car. Wish the narrative had been in Hindi though, but don't ask me how they'd have said 'check'!"

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