Bajaj Pulsar: Stunt upgrade

By Rashmi Menon , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | May 02, 2013
The latest campaign showcases the brand's new variant, Pulsar 200NS, and upgrades PulsarMania by emphasising precision stunts at a Spanish amusement park.

Bajaj Pulsar commercials are never out of awe-inspiring stunts. And, Bajaj Auto's latest campaign that introduces its new variant, Pulsar 200 NS (Naked Sport), lives up to the tradition in a fresh setting.

Titled PulsarMania 2, the campaign rides on the high anxiety and adrenaline rush created by the brand's previous PulsarMania campaign created for the Pulsar 220 range in 2008. The campaign is conceptualised by Ogilvy & Mather. The one minute commercial, filmed at Tibidabo amusement park in Barcelona, Spain, shows three bikers performing nail-biting stunts. The bikers show their prowess and push the bikes to their limits around the Ferris wheel and through the moving merry-go-round.

The intention is to emphasise the 'precision performance' of the bike. Besides touting it as the country's first sports bike, the model also boasts a triple spark feature. According to the brand, it has been choreographed to highlight 'precision performance' through excessive usage of accelerator and brakes, not to mention the intense drifting and wheelie.

While the bike was launched in the market in June, 2012, this is its first television commercial (TVC). The film is directed by Alberto Blanco and Malgenio Films of Barcelona, Spain, is the production house.

Sanjay Saraswat, vice-president, marketing, Bajaj Auto, says that Pulsar 200NS is the newest variant in the Pulsar family and the first bike in the "new platform of Pulsars". He informs that the bike's technology, performance and design make it stand out from the rest of the Pulsar range. "We wanted to create an ad for the Pulsar 200NS that would showcase the power and dexterity of the bike. If you remember, in 2008, we created the PulsarMania commercial featuring the all new Pulsar 220. Now, after five years, as we bring the next generation Pulsar to the market, we thought we will take PulsarMania to a whole new level," he says.

Saraswat adds that Ogilvy was given a single line brief, which stated that the Pulsar 200 NS was the 'Best Pulsar yet', and to display its triple spark, 4-valve engine features. "We needed to communicate this in the typical Pulsar adrenaline style, and precision stunting nature of the bike in the communication/promotion, which we believe we have managed to do pretty well," he states.

Vijay Sawant (left) and Manoj Shetty

Vijay Sawant and Manoj Shetty, group creative directors, Ogilvy & Mather, say, "Pulsar has a certain attitude, a certain stance. It has a certain take on life. If this had to be put in words, the word would be PulsarMania. PulsarMania is the DNA of the brand. So no matter how much the bike changes in terms of technology and performance, we would like to retain the attitude, which in this case is the mania. Considering we own it (performance), repeating it (the attitude) once in a while only proves beneficial to the brand's health."

They reveal that Blanco was the obvious choice as the director for the film considering that he has a lot of experience in shooting of adventure and performance related films for Red Bull. Also, since the amusement park was empty, it added an eerie quality to the film and served as an interesting backdrop to the new Pulsar 200NS, they add.

The campaign is targeted at men in the age group of 18-24 years in SEC A and B. The campaign was launched on April 19 on SET Max, where IPL is being featured, and will carry on till the end of May. Besides television, the brand is also using social media. Apparently, a day before it was launched on television, the film was put up on Pulsar's Facebook page for exclusive viewing of its 1 million fans. The brand's digital duties are handled by WebChutney.

Amit Akali

Swati Bhattacharya

In addition to the latest variant, the brand has four models, namely, Pulsar 135, 150, 180 and 220.

Precise communication?

Amit Akali, national creative director, Grey, says that while the TVC has been shot well and the location is great, the ad was overshadowed by the brand's earlier campaigns. "I saw the ad on television and my first thought was 'Pulsar's done nicer films in the past.' And I stick to that thought."

Akali adds that right from 'definitely male' to 'fastest Indian', Pulsar's done some great work. "While I like the way this ad is shot and the location, even when it comes to showcasing it as a stunt bike, the PulsarMania commercial had stunt artists doing beautifully choreographed bike aerobics to some great music. That one had a more real feel to it and stuck in your memory. Maybe it's not fair to compare, but I guess past Pulsar commercials have spoilt me!" he concludes.

Swati Bhattacharya, national creative director, JWT India, too feels something amiss in the current campaign. "I have always liked Pulsar ads but this is so 'not Pulsar'. Pulsar stunts have always had that special quality, of seeming, feeling and looking real. This one looks like something done in a hurry. Hence, the soul is missing. I was pretty disappointed," she opines.

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