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Datsun GO: Enter The Big League

By Saumya Tewari , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | April 28, 2014
Nissan's Datsun has re-entered India after over 30 years. Through its recently released TVC, the brand targets the first-time car buyer and positions the hatchback as one's ticket to the so-called 'big league'.

First cars are special. Drawing on this universal insight, TBWA India has created a campaign for Datsun GO, Nissan's entry-level hatchback that has re-entered the Indian market after over 30 years.

Datsun GO TVC

Parixit Bhattacharya

Through a 45 second long TVC, the brand takes us through a cute mock-royal, celebratory announcement made by two children as their father drives the family's new Datsun GO out of the garage. Through their little tribute, the car's features such as its seats, space and speed are touched upon.

Amused, their father invites his "Shehzaadon", or young princes as he affectionately calls them after seeing their grand welcome, into the car. The drive to their school is accompanied by a voice-over (VO) that says, "Big on power, space and mileage. Datsun GO. The big league."

"Datsun GO," says Parixit Bhattacharya, chief creative officer, TBWA India Group, "is really a very 'generous car', unlike others in the segment."

According to the company's website, the car is targeted at 'young risers in high growth markets', like India, which, according to Kenichiro Yomura, president, Nissan India Operations, is "one of the most complex, demanding and promising markets in the world." Yomura is confident that the "aspirational risers in India" will identify with his brand.

Interestingly, the TVC doesn't as much as mention the fact that the Datsun has re-entered the Indian market after a hiatus of over three decades. Why so? This is because, we learn, the brand spoke about this fact through other offline and digital initiatives. "Videos that tell the brand story were created and seeded online, early on. People in over 100 cities in India participated in the (recently held) Datsun Road Show," informs Bhattacharya.

The launch campaign includes print, outdoor, on-ground and digital media channels, including a hashtag (#DatsunGOeslive) that was created on social media last month, the day the car was launched. The digital leg of the campaign is being handled by MagnonTBWA.

The visual execution of the campaign seems alarmingly simple. All the agency wanted was to give the car "a heartfelt salute". This is how the team zeroed in on the idea of featuring children in the film. "I remembered the coronation scene from Tipu Sultan that used to be aired on Sundays on DD. We wanted the car to have a real yet grand entry. No gimmicks or trickery," shares Bhattacharya.

Produced by Jamic Films, the ad has been directed by Nikhil Rao.

Datsun originated in Japan as Dat-GO in 1914. The word Dat is Japanese for 'lightning-fast'. In India, Datsun GO faces direct competition from Maruti's WagonR and Alto, and Hyundai's Eon.

Datsun GO is priced at Rs 3.12 lakh (onwards). The company will soon launch a bigger variant, the GO+.

Sharing an interesting anecdote with us, TBWA's Bhattacharya says, "Nikhil (Rao) and I must have 'sold' the car to at least 20 people. I didn't meet a single person during the shoot who didn't think it was a much more expensive car."

A Grand Re-entry?

Saji Abraham

The TVC brings a smile to the face of Saji Abraham, vice-president, planning, Lowe Lintas and Partners Worldwide. "It is endearing. The children are cute and it is an innovative way of showcasing the features. Not done-to-death and holds your attention. Overall I would say this is a nice 'announcer film'," he says.

However, he cautions, "That's all it is - an announcer film that will run out of steam quite quickly. I would think this is a precursor for something more to be revealed in terms of why this car is relevant for the TG. With this ad Datsun has served an interesting appetizer but needs to hurry to the main course fast."

Executionally speaking, though he appreciates the casting and music, he tells that that the makers of the ad seem to have succumbed to the usual "automotive category trap" of cramming in all the features of the car and then repeating them through supers and the VO.

Each of those features, he feels, could be the subject of an ad by itself. "What does Datsun want to stand for? Mileage, features, space? All of the above? In which case where is their aggregator? Like Indica's 'More car per car'," he questions.

The other question that remains unanswered, according to Abraham, is - What is Datsun? The best way to answer this question, he feels, is by touching upon the brand's heritage in subsequent ads.

Abraham goes on to point out that in the crowded category of small and compact cars, Datsun GO does not look too different. Besides, it has a name that is similar to the Alto's positioning line - Let's Go in an Alto.

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