Neha Kalra

Pioneer's ad debut in India, powered by Shahid Kapur

Pioneer, the brand known for its car audio range, has been in India for around three years now, but this is the first time it is advertising its ware. Actor Shahid Kapur comes on board as endorser

Pioneer, the car and home entertainment products major, made an entry in India in mid-2005 through a liaison office, without too much advertising. It is now that the ‘brand’ has, well, decided to be called just that and invested in its branding, having taken up its first concerted advertising effort.

It has roped in Hindi film actor Shahid Kapur as the brand ambassador for its car audio business. The actor, popular for his dance moves, has been leveraged in the television commercial and in the print ads for the brand.

K&L Arms Communications, a joint venture between the Japan originated K&L Inc. and the Delhi based Arms Communications, is the creative agency that has worked on the communication for the brand.

The TVC opens on a shot of a discotheque packed with youngsters grooving to music, when suddenly, the power fails and so does the music system. The silence is interrupted by a wall in the disco collapsing, as a red car pushes its way in. Loud music begins playing from the car, and its owner, Kapur, steps out, much to the delight of the crowd.

Pioneer's ad debut in India, powered by Shahid Kapur
He dances to the music that is being played from the Pioneer car audio system. Enticed by its sound quality, the DJ gets his hands on the car music system and starts grooving with it. Kapur signs off with the tagline for the brand, ‘Music in Overdrive’.

Talking about the company's plans in India, Jignesh Ramanlal, senior manager, marketing, Pioneer India, tells afaqs! that the advertising strategy for the brand in the region will be mixed and that it has been suitably altered to suit India.

K&L Arms Communications came on board as Pioneer's agency in September 2008. Talking about how the advertising and marketing strategy has been put in place for the brand, Reet Singh Ahluwalia, director, K&L Arms Communications, reveals that first, they figured out the potential target audience they wished to reach out to, checked the awareness about the brand and competition awareness.

“Once it was decided that the youth was the target audience that we were looking at targeting for the brand, the next thing that needed to be catered to was quick awareness and high visibility. That's when Shahid Kapur made an entry. The quickest media to reach out to the youth is definitely television,” says Ahluwalia.

Pioneer's ad debut in India, powered by Shahid Kapur
Pioneer's ad debut in India, powered by Shahid Kapur
Talking about the creative, Ahluwalia reveals that the purchase of car audios amongst Indian consumers is mainly on the basis of loudness of sound (considering factors such as treble, bass, woofer, etc.). And that's why a creative which demonstrates the quality of the brand.

Kapur's dancing capability, much like cricketer Sreesanth's, is one thing about the actor that no one can seem to get enough of. “In this film, Kapur stands for what he is – a youth icon and a good dancer. Understanding that music and dancing go together, his talents have been employed in this film,” says Ahluwalia.

Consumers in the age bracket of 18 to 29 years are the primary target group. The secondary target audience goes up from 29 to 35 years. The metros and Tier II cities – almost all the top 10-15 cities in the country – are where the brand is seeking its target audience.

Ramanlal shares that television and print will be used as the primary channels, along with in-shop advertising. Online advertising, which is being considered for the brand in Singapore, might find some place in the India media plan as well. Events and OOH are also being considered.

The TVC starring Kapur is on air on music, lifestyle and news channels. Channels such as the National Geographic Channel, The History Channel and Discovery Channel are also running the TVC. Print ads have been placed in select auto magazines.

Pioneer India has recently set up an exclusive concept store, showcasing its home entertainment range, in Ambience Mall in Gurgaon. Apart from that, it also has a brand store, which features its entire home entertainment offering. However, its car audio range is sold through dealers and an exclusive dealer network, Autocop.

For its car audio range, the company is targeting both original equipment manufacturers and consumer markets to garner a prominent position in the in-car segment. Its new product range will be distributed by Autocop India. The entire range of Pioneer products will be sold through a retail network of more than 3,000 authorised dealers and serviced by 67 contact points.

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