The latest television campaign of the Bajaj Legend NXT 2 scooter created by Lowe, Mumbai, is an attempt to redefine the traditional association of scooters in the consumers' mind.
The four-ad Bajaj Legend campaign uses some very unexpected situations to drive home the message. The first ad shows two rustic women ambling down a kuchcha sadak with baskets perched on their heads, singing their local song. A scooter whisks by and one of the ladies break into impeccable English (which of course takes the viewer by surprise - at least during the first viewing), and asks her companion, "Did you see that?"
The second ad has this village couple riding on a cart down a bumpy village road with the husband talking to the camel tugging his cart in his local language. As a scooter zooms by, the wife turns her head to gape at the scooter/rider. Without batting an eyelid, the husband reprimands her with his very stiff-upper-lip British attitude, "I thought I told you not to stare at strangers. Hmm?"
All the ads in this new series end with the super "Sach Much International. (truly international). Bajaj Legend NXT 2." The message: Though mass as a concept, the Bajaj Legend NXT 2 scooter is a very modern machine. A clear attempt to bust the imagery surrounding a scooter - fuddy duddy, unattractive and for the conventional lot.
"The brief from Bajaj was to announce the launch of the latest, internationally-styled scooter Bajaj Legend NXT 2. The idea was to tell the people 'Come and see a scooter that doesn't look like any scooter you know'," says KV Sridhar, creative director, Lowe, Mumbai. What really worked in accentuating the 'international' feel of the brand is "… the fabulous juxtaposition of the traditional and the modern, " says Subhasish Biswas, creative director, Rediffusion DY&R.
But has the creative execution managed to lock viewership? Sumit Banerji, creative supervisor, Bates India, thinks it does. "The ad is clutter-breaking. The repeat viewership of the ads is very high. When the ads come on air one actually waits for the characters to break into English. It is a pleasant surprise and drives home the point clearly. The plot is simple and fun to watch. And the international feel comes across right upfront."
The ad might be clutter breaking, but there are many who feel the idea is very similar to last year's Pepsi Zone series of ads. "Pepsi has long been known for setting trends in advertising that others follow/copy. I hope the similarities in ideation are purely unintentional because people still remember the Pepsi Zone commercials," says Syed Usman, associate vice-president and senior creative director, HTA. On his part, Sridhar of Lowe is categorical that "…these films have nothing to do with the Pepsi Zone ads. Legend's concept of international effect on local people is tied to the product proposition. Personally, I feel ad is absolutely different from the Pepsi Zone ads."
What is most interesting thing about the Legend series of ads is that it steers clear of the patriotism path, which is so pervasive in all Bajaj advertising. The question is: Is this an attempt to chart a new course by the company? Sridhar feels the Legend ads retain the traditional values of Bajaj. "The creative strategy behind Hamara Bajaj was to make Bajaj Auto and its modern two-wheelers aspirational and relevant to today's youth. It is this commitment to values that made Bajaj a part of every Indian's life. Whereas this particular series of ads communicate the funny side of Indians. What we are saying is while we are proud of our values and can laugh at our quirks, we are not ashamed to be Indians."
The Indianness notwithstanding, some feel, the only drawback in this piece of advertising is that the target audience doesn't come across clearly. "Seems like a good mind behind the ads, but am not sure who the target audience is," says HTA's Usman. In contrast, Biswas of Rediffusion feels, "The NXT 2 ad is like Aamir Khan's Lagaan. It cuts across all boundaries." For Nima Namchu, creative director, Capital Advertising, the ads have a very SEC A appeal. "The treatment, which appears to be meant for the SEC A, is probably intentional - to make the product aspirational for the sub-SEC A audience. After all, they are selling it on its 'Truly International' whatevers."
That, however, is not the intent of the agency. Lowe's Sridhar says, "The rural setting is used simply to build the contrast - of villagers talking in English. It is an ad for people who don't need to understand English, but recognise the language. They should feel that this is something international. This is a telegraphic way of saying it."
Overall, the ad seems to have won many hearts. Rahul Jauhari, creative group head, Rediffusion DY&R, says it best when he draws this analogy, "The ad is like the Fevicol of scooters."
Creative Director: Balki (R Balakrishnan)
Producer: POV Films
Director: KS Chakravarty (Chax)
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