TVS Wego: Louder Than Words

By Sohini Sen , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | February 26, 2015
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The scooter brand has come out with a long-format film urging couples to come closer and spending more time together.

Valentine's Day has come and gone. And love has been professed by many, including brands. TVS Motors, however, has urged people to express their love without necessarily speaking, in its latest digital campaign.

The film opens with a wife, visibly angry with her husband for not giving her enough time. The husband, upon reaching home, tries to coax her. All through, the couple is seen talking using sign language. The husband tries to win her over by giving her chocolates and flowers, but what she wants instead is to ride his Wego. It is revealed only later that, in fact, the husband is the only one suffering from hearing and speech impairment. The wife, however, reminds him that it's not always necessary to 'use words' to say something.

Aniruddha Haldar

Vineet Gupta

"TVS Wego is about spending 'we time'. Our brief was to use Valentine's Day as a backdrop and leverage the proposition in a way that would connect with the consumers more," explains Vineet Gupta, managing director, 22feet Tribal Worldwide.

The brand has been positioned for the urban couple. This is why the communication, including the ones which came before this campaign, has always been about spending quality time together.

According to Aniruddha Haldar, head of marketing for scooters segment at TVS Motors, "Valentine's Day has always been about telling how much you love each other. We wanted to show that it's not just about saying it, but can be about a lot more. The reason why we showed a deaf guy is not because we wanted to show impairment of some kind, but to say, in our own ways we are all differently-abled. And we and our partners have to make an effort to bridge the gap."

While the brand did put up a one-minute edit of the film on TV for two days, the campaign is primarily on the digital media. TVS, meanwhile, has shifted focus from a short-term sales approach to a long-term brand building communication.

The campaign urges couples to express themselves and also ties it back to the brand motto of 'find your we time'. The same thought was echoed in an earlier campaign by the brand, in which a couple exchanged marriage vows to travel through life's ups and downs together. What is remarkable is that both films show the male and female protagonists taking a turn to ride the bike.

"It is a conscious decision to show Wego being ridden by both the husband and the wife. It is not a boy's bike which girls can ride, or a girl's bike which men will be okay to take out. It has been designed for him and her. It makes riding equally comfortable for both sexes," points out Haldar.

The scooter market in India sees sales of about four lakh units a month. TVS enjoys a 27-30 per cent market share in the scooter category, with an equal number of male and female customers. Scooters are also the fastest growing segment in the automobile industry, with a growth of 25 per cent year on year. In comparison, the motorcycle industry has seen single digit growth.

The Wego campaign comes after a slew of recent long-format films by brands that have taken up off-beat topics such as cancer survivor, stammering, blindness, autism, leg impairment, among others. According to Gupta, it is not a trend, but merely another form of storytelling where the audience can be captivated.

Nilanjan Dasgupta

Deven Sansare

But the pattern does not escape the industry's eyes. According to Nilanjan Dasgupta, ECD, RediffusionY&R, there is an overdose of these 'emotional' stories.

"Autism for Birla Sun Life, the Nescafe guy who stammers, the Lux blind photographer, the Dabur sancer survivor, the HDFC artificial leg girl...aren't we getting a bit too clichéd in portraying such stories repeatedly these days? Not to mention the Philips silent couple ad which also used sign language as a device. Also, the philosophy of "we time" is nothing new to talk about, and though the line "Designed for two. To Feel like one" has promise, the story could have been refreshing and, therefore, interesting."

Deven Sansare, co-founder and chief creative officer of Ferry Wharf Communications LLP (A Mumbai-based creative agency) finds no connect with the brand. "It's in keeping with the brand positioning but the product is incidental. It's a Hallmark Cards ad for a two-wheeler brand. The story ends where she chooses a ride on the bike over flowers and chocolates. After that, the story doesn't move ahead - she has been placated; he has been forgiven. There is no 'what happens next?' that you experience after this point. For me, it's not about the duration. It's about how long can a story/film hold your attention/imagination," Sansare states.

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