After cricket, Hero Honda plans to latch on to the second big obsession of the average Indian: movies. No prizes for guessing who will lead the two-wheeler major's latest offensive to fortify its newly acquired numero uno status. Film star Hrithik Roshan would appear with Indian cricket captain Saurav Ganguly in the sequel to the Desh Ki Dhadkan campaign that was launched by the company this time last year. "The idea has been finalised, the storyboard is more or less ready and the (ad) film will go to the floors next month," confirms Atul Sobti, senior vice-president, marketing & sales, Hero Honda Motors.
But no, reassures Sobti, the ad (conceived by Percept Advertising, Delhi) will not revolve around the life of the 'average Indian' who keeps popping up in those sundry ads - casting a fishing net in the river, reaping a rich harvest in his lush farmland, or in the avatar of the army husband being seen off by his sari-draped wife, with a tilak and a smile. "If we did that it would be more of the same. So this time we have worked hard at depicting real people, with real emotions. It will be different and will be full of fun and youthfulness," Sobti adds.
Hero Honda plans to spend Rs 3-Rs 5 crore on the new campaign, which will be focused mainly on TV. The 60-second TV commercial featuring Saurav and Hrithik will be run across all the major TV channels, cutting across languages. "The idea is to appeal to every middle class Indian, who is the potential upgrade from a scooter. So it has to be everywhere." The TV campaign, which will run over January-March 2002, will be taken forward in print post April 2002. The company, which had earmarked an ad budget of Rs 75 crore for the year April 2001-March 2002, hopes to spend Rs 3-5 crore on the three-month TV campaign.
The advertising is in tune with the company's ambition for the Indian market. Hero Honda (in which India's Munjal family and Japan's Honda Motor each hold a 26 per cent stake), which dethroned Bajaj Auto earlier this year as the largest two-wheeler company, is looking at the 100-cc-plus category of the motorcycles market as the growth driver for the next year. It plans to unveil a new bike in this segment next year, though Sobti isn't ready to disclose the brand name yet. However, he concedes the price of the new bike will be "beyond Splendor and Passion, around Rs 50,000-plus". The bike would be pitched directly against Suzuki Fiero, which leads the performance category of the motorcycle market with sales of 6,000-8,000 bikes per month. Hero Honda's other brand in this market CBZ sells around 2,000-3,000 per month. The market size of the performance category is estimated at 12,000-15,000 bikes per month.
Sobti says this is the best time to bring to a climax the marketing efforts for the year 2000 that were aimed at broadbasing the company's emotional appeal. "We are not looking at instant recall … we have that. What we need now are some positive and lasting associations," says Sobti. Indeed, Hero Honda's performance in the past quarter has been nothing short of spectacular. The company announced last week that its October sales jumped 43.9 per cent to 132,516 bikes from 92,109 in the same month last year. And compared to September, its sales were up 12.03 per cent.
To keep up the tempo, Hero Honda would leverage the brand name through films, music and television. It seems Hero Honda bikes would be "an integral part" of Bollywood movie Aap Mujhe Achhe Lagne Lage featuring Hrithik Roshan and Amisha Patel to be released next year. According to the company, this will help the company connect best with its target audience.
Hero Honda has also sponsored some major entertainment-related awards in recent times, including the Indian television academy awards, the Stardust awards, the Cinema Express awards, the Bengali Film Journalists award etc. The company has signed a three-year contract for all these events.
Â© 2001 agencyfaqs!