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Voltas: Pushing the affordability option

By , agencyfaqs! | In | May 18, 2004
The three-commercial campaign for the Voltas Vertis aims to drive home the point that owning an air-conditioner is no longer beyond the means of the common man


Typically, air-conditioner advertising in India is pegged to either 'cooling' (the generic end-user benefit, that is) or the 'economy/affordability' angle of ACs. While it is but natural for advertising to talk about the cooling properties of air-conditioners, advertising that stresses on the economy and affordability of ACs essentially addresses the budget-conscious consumer and her concern over escalating power consumption costs. With the possible exception of LG, Samsung (both of which use the 'health' platform) and Daikin (which focuses on the brand's noiseless performance), every air-conditioner brand in India has based its proposition either on cooling or on affordability - or both. (Hitachi, which focuses on cooling and 'perfect temperature', touched upon the economy aspect of the brand through the 'electric bill' commercial.)

It is in this context that air-conditioner brand Voltas draws attention. For the current ad campaign for the Voltas Vertis demonstrates a distinct shift in the Voltas' communication approach - from cooling, which once underlined Voltas advertising, to affordability. The three-commercial campaign - created by Euro RSCG India's Delhi office - aims to drive home the point that owning an air-conditioner is no longer beyond the means of the common man.

The first ad ('bodybuilder') is about this emaciated man who, after casting a glance at a poster of Arnold Schwarzenegger, starts a work out with the aid of muscle-enhancing equipment. Then, facing a mirror, he begins to strike a bodybuilder-like pose. The scrawny chap quickly realizes it's a lost cause and his dreams of becoming a muscle-bound hunk beat a retreat. However, there is one dream that has come true for him. The comforting voiceover announces, 'Ab har koi le sake AC ka mazaa.' Courtesy Voltas' newly introduced air-conditioner Voltas Vertis, priced at Rs 9,999.

The second film is about this middle-aged man who dreams of bowling like ace bowler, Shoaib Akhtar. Standing before a mirror, the bespectacled and potbellied gent imitates the bowling action of Shoaib Akhtar, then performing a replay of the action in slow motion. The ad concludes with him cooling off the sweat in front of his Voltas Vertis. The third ad shows a south Indian man getting dressed in front of a mirror, when suddenly, he starts imitating actor Rajnikant's trademark stunts. The ad drives home the fact that while some dreams will remain dreams, the dream of owning an AC can come true.

When Euro RSCG was asked to work on a campaign for this season, the agency decided to do some spadework before plunging into the brainstorming sessions. A quick check of the category threw up some insights. "AC penetration in India is as low as 1.7 per cent, a far cry from the 35 per cent-plus penetration achieved by the refrigerator category," says Anisha Motwani, vice-president, Euro RSCG India. "And given the fact that there are over 17 players fighting for that 1.7 per cent, the growth driver for Voltas was identifying and penetrating into new consumer segments with a relevant product offering. Essentially, a product that could bridge the price gap between an air-conditioner and a cooler, and simultaneously reduce the running cost. The new Voltas Vertis, at a sub-Rs 10,000 price, with a running cost of less than Rs 500 (at an average run time of 4 hours per day) was the ideal product to target the mass market with. Currently, the market is crowded with high-end products that make ACs inaccessible to the common man."

The agency was initially faced with the uphill task of convincing the client about making its economy model, Vertis, the hero of the next Voltas campaign. The client's concerns were justified to an extent - promoting Voltas as a mass-market brand ran contrary to the 'aspirational' brand promise ('ACs with IQ') that Voltas had hitherto been making. "The communication challenge thus was to find the balance and play the mass-market game without compromising on the contemporary and hi-tech image of the Voltas brand," explains Motwani.

The creative strategy that subsequently crystallized kept in mind the affordability factor, which had to be conveyed in tandem with the aspirational value of the brand. "ACs are still an aspirational product for most middle-class Indians," says Motwani. "It's the kind of stuff that dreams are made of… bangla, gaadi aur AC. A clear class-divide exists in the mind of ordinary Indians - those with ACs and those without. Every Indian nurses the dream of owning all those things that showcase his arrival. The communication strategy rides on this particular insight and makes the dream of owning an AC come alive."

Now whether the communication would help the company fulfill its desire of opening up the mass market and grabbing a 20 per cent share of the AC market is something that remains to be seen… © 2004 agencyfaqs!

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