Honda: The 110 cc Dream Merchant

By Ashwini Gangal , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | August 19, 2013
Honda has released a new campaign for its Dream Neo motorcycle that urges semi-urban and rural riders to conquer their daily grind with superstar-like confidence.

Rife with semi-urban imagery, references to bad roads, words like 'phillum' and visuals of classic 'desi' phrases like 'Horn OK Please', Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India's new ad for the Dream Neo, titled 'Apni Film Ka Superstar', aims to promote the new affordable, entry-level mass bike.

Honda Dream Neo TVC

Honda Dream Neo print ad

Honda Dream Neo print ad

Honda Dream Neo print ad

Honda Dream Neo print ad

Honda Dream Neo print ad

The brand's pre-campaign consumer research revealed that the two-wheeler consumer from non-metro India is a self-assured man who is the anchor for his family; someone who confidently braves the challenges of daily life. The idea, therefore, was to reveal this finding by glorifying this man. The ad portrays him as the 'superstar of his own life'. The communication is targeted at this confident, semi-urban Indian male who aspires for an expression of individual identity.

Shot in Siddhpur, Gujarat, the ad falls under Honda's broader brand promise, 'Sach Kardenge Sapne'. Besides 60 and 45-second edited versions of the TVC, outdoor, cinema and press also form part of the media mix. Regarding press, region-specific full page print ads are being rolled out. These ads celebrate the common man from 'small town India' by introducing him in typical 'movie title style'. Each ad introduces a 'hero' from a different geography by naming him and then saying 'in and on Dream Neo', a clear pun on the way Hindi film opening credits name the actor playing the title role with 'in and as'. The names used in the print ads include Ganeshan for the South, Madan Singh for the Rajasthan region, Malkeet for the North, Sachin for the West and Arjun for the Central zone.

Through this campaign, the brand addresses a star-struck TG that is extremely influenced by Bollywood films. According to Titus Upputuru, national creative director, Dentsu Marcom, the agency that has created this campaign, the idea was to help the "the struggling man out on the street" to take the mental leap into thinking of his life as a movie in which he is the protagonist.

Anand Murty, vice president, planning, Dentsu Marcom explains that the TG comprises not just consumers, but strong, determined "personalities and characters" that harbour carefully crafted dreams. Y S Guleria, vice-president, sales and marketing, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India, states, "Creating a new paradigm in mass mobility, Dream Neo is Honda's most affordable and most fuel efficient two-wheeler, ever, in India." According to him, the product aims to delight Indian customers with its local, customer-centric theme. In fact, the print ads read 'Dilkhush Daam', in the context of the price of the bike.

Hit or flop?

Anirban Chaudhuri, head, strategic planning, Draftfcb Ulka Delhi, says, "For the average Indian family, the breadwinner is indeed a superstar. So the attempt to appeal to his heroic self-image is interesting. The kitsch props add to the 'dramatised heartland' touch. The product features too have been coherently demonstrated." He adds that with an increasingly style conscious mass segment, Honda Dream Neo will have to fight only with its features.

To Simran Sahni, group creative director, Cheil India, the execution and casting make it clear that Honda is going mass. "'Apni Phillum Ka Superstar' is also a nice thought and Mrs. Superstar's dialogue at the end is 'paisa vasool'," she says in appreciation.

However, she adds, "My only problem with it is that through the film, there is no 'superstar stuff' the protagonist does. Just driving from point A to point B with a narrative that just extols the features of the bike is hardly superstar-like."

Sahni would've preferred some bike stunts, scenes of the hero bashing up ten villains simultaneously to get the girl of his dreams and shots of crowds going crazy for him as he, perhaps, saves the world. "And if he were to say something witty at the end -- yes, the thought would work for me. Right now, it feels like the client has written the script," she critiques.

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