"We want to amplify the joy of long rides": Sumeet Narang, Bajaj Auto on Discover's on-ground campaign

By Sohini Sen , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | May 12, 2015
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As part of a re-positioning exercise, Bajaj Discover took eight couples on a 3000 km ride across six Indian cities. The result was a GPS heart on the map of India and stories of rekindled romance.

They say travel brings hearts closer. Riding on this very insight of rekindling romance through travel, two-wheeler brand Bajaj set out to promote Bajaj Discover's Zing Zong campaign.

Sumeet Narang

"When we looked at Discover as a brand, we wanted to sharpen its positioning by marrying the product attributes with the right insight. While everyone knew it is the best in its class for mileage, we wanted to amplify the joy of riding and Discover's capability of long rides," explains Sumeet Narang, senior vice president, marketing, Bajaj Auto.

Thus, the brand came up with a series of three TVCs in March this year under the 'Life ko banaye Zing Zong' campaign. The campaigns were based on observations which showed how couples lose their intimate touch a few years after marriage. And, thus, the Zing Zong rides - atop a Bajaj Discover, tried to bring back that lost romance for married couples.

According to Narang, "the connect between riding and thrill is more direct for the youth. Whereas, for the family man, it has to play a larger role than just this kind of benefit. A lot of married couples become sedate a few years after marriage. By showing the little nuances of everyday riding, we wanted them to get the excitement back in their lives."

The excitement, or zing, gave birth to the 'Zing Zong' rides branded content in April. According to an IMRB-Relationship survey which Bajaj commissioned, 94 per cent people in India feel they have lost the spark/romance after marriage once the honeymoon period is over. This is primarily the case as financial responsibility and household matters takes center stage in the lives of married couples in India.

Bajaj decided to host a mini-reality series which saw 8,000 couples responding to the call for entries. Out of these eight couples were shortlisted based on the stories they wanted to share and how they wanted to surprise their respective spouses. These couples went on a 3,000 kms long ride across six cities to literally make a heart, albeit one on GPS, on the face of India. Each episode of the mini-series focusses on one couple and ends with a surprise gesture from the man to his wife. Thus, from just providing a ride, Bajaj Discover tries to make itself a part of their emotional journey as well.

RajDeepak Das

"We observed that the start of responsibility often meant the end of fun for married couples. When asked, they pointed out simple things like not being able to sit close to each other on a bike, women often sitting with both her legs on the same side - leading to a distance between the rider and his pillion. We decided to use these observations and show Discover as a responsible yet fun and powerful bike," adds RajDeepak Das, chief creative officer, Leo Burnett.

Bajaj Discover, first launched in 2004, is now available in a couple of variants - Discover 100 DTS-Si, Discover 125 DTS-i, Discover 125ST and Discover 150 DTS-i. It enjoys 15 per cent market share within the commuter segment in the two-wheeler category. The two-wheeler industry is dominated by the commuter segment, which enjoys a 80 per cent market share, and the rest is enjoyed by the sports segment. Bajaj sold a whopping half a million Discovers in the last year. However, the company did report a drop in motorcycle sales for the month of April 2015, as compared to April 2014.

According to Narang, the marketing spends on Discover has been increased to push the re-positioning exercise. The priority markets for the brand includes states like Andhra Pradesh, while neighbouring Karnataka and Eastern markets like West Bengal and Orissa continue to do well.

Riding on clichés?

According to Vandana Katoch, founder, Clayground (a Delhi-based creative agency), the insight is very strong and conveys the special experiences of couples on bikes.

Vandana Katoch

Nilanjan Dasgupta

"For a bike brand to attempt to bring that kind of intimacy in the picture, rather than talking about the usual mileage and other male imagery is a brave decision. However, the words Zing Zong did nothing for me and made the exercise very gimmicky. Again, the whole thing of making a GPS heart seems impractical. That's like 400 kms on a bike for each couple! It puts in question of authenticity in the viewer's mind," Katoch states.

While the need to reinvent lost love and rekindle the passion in a couple's relationship is a noble idea, the way it is done here looks forced and artificial to Nilanjan Dasgupta, ECD, Rediffusion Y&R.

"The stories are a set of clichés and there's nothing refreshing about them. The bigger question is what really inspires them to take part in these 'zing zong' rides? The creation of an imaginary heart on India's map? Honestly, today's couples are far more evolved and difficult to please than this proposition. The activation idea fails to impress just like the 'zing zong' TVC," Dasgupta says.

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