Bajaj V: A piece of INS Vikrant in your bike

By Suraj Ramnath , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | February 04, 2016
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Leo Burnett has created a minute-long ad film for Bajaj V, a bike that has part of Indian aircraft carrier INS Vikrant in it. "We wanted every Indian to own a part of history," says the agency.

Bajaj Auto recently launched its new bike V. The design of the bike is such that the fuel tank is made out of the steel of aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, the ship that won India the 1971 battle against Pakistan.

The video that was launched on January 26, was shown in cinemas along with the screening of the movie Airlift, for the week until February 1. Keroscene Films has produced this particular video.

Bajaj V

Speaking about how he saw an opportunity in using the scrap of INS Vikrant in an actual product range, Sumeet Narang, senior vice-president, marketing, motorcycles, Bajaj Auto, says, "It was a marketing idea that got an artistic fold to it. We were working on a new brand, a new bike, which was to be strong, and stood tall and proud. So, there was perfect synergy between the two."

The new Bajaj V ad

Talking about the target audience for Bajaj V, Narang says, "We are targeting the 'executive segment' which could well be urban, in small towns, even a bit in rural, and we are targeting a set of customers which is not just seeking a practical mileage bike, nor a sporty looking bike, but a vehicle which is solid and imposing. An executive segment would want a product which has attributes of a solid form and a commanding presence. The target group will be NCCS AB 25-35 Male."

Sumeet Narang

Saurabh Varma

RajDeepak Das

When asked about what gave him sleepless nights, Saurabh Varma, chief executive officer - South Asia, Leo Burnett, says, "What kept us up in the night was that this idea remains a secret. When you conceptualise an idea, 14 months in the making, which is big and significant as this, and when there are 35-40 people working between the agency and your client, you want it closely guarded."

According to Varma, it is all about the timing. "The confidentiality is important as it is a very big launch for Bajaj. It is clear to everybody that this is not a limited edition launch. It is the biggest launch after the Pulsar launch in 2001," he says.

When asked about how different was the brief, RajDeepak Das, chief creative officer, Leo Burnett, says, "It wasn't a regular kind of brief. The brief happened at the design studio. Bajaj showed us the bike in the design studio and said this is the brief. That was awesome. It was simple. We want to make it look big, invincible."

Talking about the effort that went into producing the ad film, RajDeepak Das talks about how going through the archives of papers and TV channels, and figuring out what information/clips his team could source was a feat. "We found documentary and film makers who had shot INS Vikrant during its glorious days. All those things we did ourselves. It took a lot of time. Getting the right pieces and visuals out of the million that were there is tough. If you Google it and see, you can't find it. So, we had to watch everything bit by bit. It was over a 13 month-long project. We were part of it from the concept stage," he says.

About the regulations involved in sourcing all the material one sees in the ad, he says, "Everything had to be done legally. There was a lot of process. It is a gigantic project anybody has ever done in India. It is not about creating a campaign here. It is much bigger than a campaign. We are rebuilding history. We are selling the history."

Sharing his views about the strategy by Bajaj Auto, K V Sridhar (Pops), chief creative officer, Sapient Nitro, says, "What a brilliant idea. It's a beautiful product idea because everybody wants a piece of history and nation. He went and bought this metal which was going in scrap and instead of someone making a frying pan out of it, he bought it and put it into the bike. You can't do anything more than that. The idea is inbuilt into the product. If you don't have a marketing idea then you need advertising idea. When you have the product, what else do you need? Absolutely nothing."

K V Sridhar

Arun Iyer

Pops further adds, "Everybody wants to feel patriotic. It is not one of the fancy things. It is manhood, it is patriotism. It is like making the bike out of a 1971 tank which invaded Pakistan -- who doesn't want a piece of that? This is not a gimmick because they actually went and bought the scrap and put that into the metal of the bike and then will sell it -- not only in India, but even internationally. If someone says they want to give you a metal which belongs to Apollo 13 you would say 'yes, I want it'."

Pops, was in fact, involved with the launch of Bajaj Caliber. "I will write to Rajiv Bajaj because he is usually a person who hides his emotions inside, but with this one idea, he has let his emotions out," he says.

Taking about his first reaction on looking at the campaign of Bajaj V, Arun Iyer, chief creative officer, Mullen Lintas, says, "My first reaction was whoa! Now, that's a big idea, and I was completely blown away. It's a great thing that advertising is thinking like that and that is remarkable. Using a marketing idea to make a product, I think it's a huge idea.

According to Iyer, It should not be viewed as an ad, but as an idea.

While talking about the need of an ambassador for the brand, Iyer says, "It has taken the biggest symbol of patriotism that could have existed with INS Vikrant. To keep it alive and to have done that with a bike is a phenomenal idea. I don't think it needs any brand ambassador."

As for the production, Narang says, "It is to start this month. We plan to make the bike available for delivery in March. We are setting up a production capacity of 20,000 bikes. But, going by the response we received since we first unveiled the essence of this brand on January 26, we may have to increase the capacity sooner rather than later."

The cost of the bike is will be between Rs 60,000-70,000.

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