If technology has brought us close and made the world a smaller place, what's the 'connection' this man is out in search of in the new ad for Bajaj Avenger? As he traverses the hills and meadows, he keeps checking his phone, not to find, but to escape the internet signal in an attempt to reconnect with himself.
And, ultimately he does connect, not just with himself, but with all of us, who have knowingly or unknowingly, become compulsive social media users today.
"We had this script in mind for a very long time. In fact, we had pitched it to the client in the initial stages of the launch, but the idea became more powerful in the context of 'Social Media Day'," adds Shriram Iyer, national creative director, Mullen Lintas.
While the occasion is perfectly suited, this is not the first time that a brand is talking about the need to disconnect from the virtual world. Last year, Godrej's soap brand Cinthol released a campaign titled #AliveIsOffline, an extension of the brand's two-year-old umbrella thought 'Alive is Awesome'. The film urged today's perpetually logged-in consumers to get off the internet and live a little in the real world. The concept used also reminds one of Coca-Cola's anti-phubbing film.
Bajaj Avenger made its debut in India with the 'Feel Like God' (F.L.G.) positioning about a decade ago. Recently, the automaker launched three new variants of the bike - Cruise 220, Street 220, and Street 150, as well as another ad, a near-recycled version of what K V 'Pops' Sridhar called the 'cult film' when we asked him to compare the two. The 'cult film' Pops was talking about was the ad in which model and actor Siddharth Shukla forgives his past as he discovers the joy of riding an Avenger.
From the rugged and lifeless terrains and adrenaline-pumping background scores in the previous ads, this one has, quite literally, come a long way, to plush green landscapes and soul-soothing music. Will it be able to recreate the magic of the first 'F.L.G.' campaign?
Paddy believes that it would be unfair to compare it to the first ad because both serve a different purpose. "The lone beautiful drive complements the 'connect with oneself' thought, and the role of the brand is that it helps the guy achieve that connection. The insight should appeal to the right audience," he adds.
While Mark McDonald, senior creative director, DigitasLBi, India, a digital agency from the house of Publicis.Sapient, likes the ad, the first thing he points out is the irony of it -- a digital film that preaches the virtues of going offline.
"The execution is nice, and so is the soundtrack, as well as the fact that the brand has not shoved in a voiceover anywhere. Avenger's trying to connect with the youth, but clearly only a certain kind of youth - the ones who're happier getting on a bike than getting on Snapchat," he infers.
Does it bring back the charm of the original? "I think it does a decent job of building on the appeal of the original. But, about halfway through, you kind of figure out where this is going, and that's the only drawback of this otherwise good film. There are a couple of hashtags thrown in and I'd be interested to know what they plan to do with them digitally," remarks McDonald.