A great ad? Well, chances are that the names of some of the top creative agencies will pop up. But, that is not the case with the latest ad released by Mercedes-Benz India. If you were wondering which creative agency is behind the new music video released by the auto giant, you are in for a surprise! There is none. The Mercedes Benz Project X, as it is called, has been put together by the brand's media agency MEC India, in collaboration with Qyuki, an online broadcast network for youth co-founded by filmmaker Shekhar Kapur, A R Rahman and Samir Bangara (former managing director - digital at UTV Disney).
Project X, conceptualised by music composer and singer Ranjit Barot and Qyuki (which is also the producer), has India's top music maestros, A R Rahman, Salim Merchant, Shubha Mudgal, and Amit Trivedi lend their voice to the track Khushnuma.
Directed by Devanshu Singh, Khushnuma is the story of a young man whose passion for music clashes with his father's expectations of him. The boy, now a young man, leaves home in search of his dreams. Having realised them, he returns victorious in his very own Mercedes.
The track, which was composed by (Ranjit) Barot and (Salim) Merchant, was released at the 13th Auto Expo, where the company also unveiled the global SUV, GLC and the S-Class Cabriolet.
Cashing in on this trend, and combined with growing consumerism, contemporary designs, and fresh communication, the company has geared up to target youngsters. In 2015, Mercedes launched 15 new models and dealerships in India, informs Thete.
And, this is precisely the reason that a non-traditional medium has been chosen for Project X. Thete says, "Since the average age of the luxury buyer has come down drastically, we have to use non-traditional mediums as it is more likely that the young would consume content on-the-go/online through social media. The video is, therefore, being promoted on digital platforms."
Young and indulgent
While discussing the luxury car market in India, auto expert Ranojoy Mukerji tells us how Mercedes has been battling the perception of being a car for the old (45-50 plus years) since the advent of BMW and Audi in India around 2006-07. Although it is the leader today, the competition is still close.
Mercedes has, in the past two years, launched a slew of younger-looking, jazzy and fun-to-ride cars. According to Mukerji, the market has responded well. There are more young people buying Mercs today, especially the A, B Class and the CLA and GLA. These models fall in the affordable luxury segment, almost 98 per cent of which is between Rs 20-40/45 lakh. This range suits first-time buyers who are growing in number every day. Hence, this segment drives volumes for the luxury car makers.
Yet another trend in the segment has been the surging popularity of the small luxury SUVs, a trend which is both image and need-driven. "People like the feeling of owning a big vehicle, sitting high and making eye-contact with the taller vehicle driver. SUVs are also very popular among women because they give them a feeling of authority. Their popularity can also be attributed to the fact that SUVs give one the flexibility to take on bad roads," Mukerji explains.
Appreciating the video, Rajesh Lalwani, CEO, Scenario Consulting, and founder, Blogworks, a brand consultancy, says, "It's a powerful idea that understands the aspirations of an emerging India, and one which will resonate with those that 'have' succeeded and those who 'want to'. I look forward to seeing some real stories next."
"Even as the dreams of young India are changing and getting manifested in multiple career paths they are choosing, some things continue to remain the same. Mercedes continues to be the perfect celebration of aspirations, quality and an iconic statement of success," he says.
As a result, luxury car makers are introducing entry-level products to target the first time buyer. "You may see other brands actively pursuing the audience/aspiration through new story-telling formats that go beyond the product and its appeal, going forward. India is moving up the value chain faster, and luxury brands like Mercedes are leveraging the phenomenon with initiatives such as this one," says Lalwani.