When Priyanka Chopra zipped about on her Hero Pleasure asking viewers why girls shouldn't have fun, it hit the right spot. Those were the good old days for the company. Now, with the split with Honda firmly behind it, Hero realized that its 102-cc scooter, 'Pleasure', targeted at young women riders needed a makeover and a new rider.
More than cosmetic
Hero is offering 10 colour options to consumers. The new Pleasure has been also been equipped with an LED light in the underseat storage area, a mobile charging socket and lockable glove box. It has been loaded with IBS (integrated braking system) which is similar to Honda's Combi Brake System (CBS) and helps in reducing the braking distance by close to 15 per cent. Another useful addition is tubeless tyres.
The new Hero Pleasure is priced (ex-showroom Mumbai) at Rs 45,960 for the cast wheel version while the alloy wheel and IBS version is priced at Rs 47,075. Executed by FCB Ulka, the new campaign features an effervescent Bhatt riding through the picturesque countryside of Kullu Manali while desi rap music plays in the background.
The ad film highlights various features of the scooter while Bhatt enjoys her exhilarating ride. Back home, when her mother asks her where she had been, she replies, 'Mausam ka haal lene' (to check on the weather). The film ends with Bhatt saying, ''Why should boys have all the fun?"
"The campaign is aimed at introducing the new face of Hero Pleasure while taking forward the brand thought, 'Why should boys have all the fun?'" says Vasudha Mishra, senior creative director, FCB Ulka Delhi. The tagline, she believes, has become synonymous to the brand and reiterates that even girls can be passionate riders. And they don't need a reason to step out.
The soundtrack is crucial to the film, asserts Mishra, which works like a narrative of sorts. "We chose to do a rap as Indian rap has, fairly or unfairly, got a misogynistic image. We did a light-hearted banter between a guy and girl, to drive home the message," she explains. The music for the score was created by Micu Patel and sung by Akshay Verma and Aditi Singh Sharma. The campaign is being promoted on print, OOH, and digital.
Hero Pleasure faces stiff competition from TVS Scooty Pep+, which is also targeted primarily at youth. The other competitors include Honda Dio, Bajaj Kristal and Suzuki Access. Hero also has a more masculine and sturdy scooter, "Hero Maestro" which is being endorsed by Bollywood heartthrob Ranbir Kapoor.
Credit rating agency ICRA's report on the Indian Automobile industry in February, states that, unlike other automobile segments, February marked seven consecutive months of positive volume growth for the domestic two-wheeler industry, especially scooters.
Accounting for 24.1 per cent of the two-wheeler industry's sales in volumes (April-February 2013-14), scooter sales grew by a robust 28.2 per cent year-on-year in February 2014. While volumes in the 100cc segment had shrunk by 1.9 per cent in 2012-13 (over the previous year), growth was moderately positive at 4.2 per cent (April-February 2013-14) year on year.
In contrast, the fastest growing sub-segment of 2012-13 - 125cc bikes - saw growth taper off from 26 per cent in 2012-13 to minus 3.8 per cent in April-February 2012-13. In terms of market share, Honda expanded its share from 18.9 per cent in 2012-13 to 23.6 per cent (April-February 2013-14) at the expense of Hero MotoCorp, Bajaj Auto and TVS Motor.
Hero MotoCorp, in its 2013-14 annual report states that during the year, the two-wheeler industry grew marginally by 7.1 per cent - 16.9 million units sold compared to 15.8 million units in 2012-13. The scooters category was the star performer with a 22.1 per cent growth in sales, from 3.1 million units in 2012-13 to 3.8 million units in 2013-14.
The two top-selling brands (Pleasure and Maestro) in the scooter category, says the report, continued to perform strongly with volumes increasing to 2.9 million units from 2.6 million units. Hero MotoCorp's sales grew by 13.6 per cent and accounted for 21.4 per cent of the two-wheeler market.
The company sold 6.2 million units in 2013-14, a 2.8 per cent increase over the previous year. In value terms, sales (net of excise duty) increased by 6.5 per cent to Rs 25,125 crore, up from Rs 23,583 crore recorded in the previous fiscal.
Sambit Mohanty, creative head, DDB Mudra North believes that the campaign has a repeat value owing to an insouciance and breeziness. "I loved the quasi-rap clubhouse soundtrack too - it is very hummable," he points out.
He feels that Alia's impishness and elfin charm will renew interest in the old proposition. He also appreciates the purposelessness of the ride (what's called in Punjabi 'gedi maarna'). "I'd have added Alia doing a wheelie with this little scooter - just to give it a bit more spunk," he adds.