Nandana Das

Maruti Ritz: Romancing with life

From the day it was launched, the positioning for the Ritz has always been 'Live the moment'. However, this is the first time that the advertising amplifies the core brand message.

Maruti Suzuki's premium hatchback, Ritz, was launched in May 2009. In the span of one and a half years, the brand has already witnessed three major campaigns, including the latest one. The first commercial focused on romancing the car, while the second one, Choices, brought out its sheer advantage over the competition in the most fiercely fought category. The latest TVC aims to create an emotional connect and firmly establish the core brand message.

Maruti Ritz: Romancing with life
The first two commercials were instrumental in establishing Ritz as a brand and as a strong player in the premium A2 segment. However, now, it's time for the brand to broaden its base, build on a strong foundation and provide a strong emotional connect with its core audience. The new campaign has been designed to bring alive Ritz's core positioning of 'Live the moment' in a manner that helps create a strong empathy with the consumers.

In the latest TV commercial, a montage of shots shows emotionally significant moments and situations of life, happening inside the Ritz or associated with it. Each 'moment' carries a number. Towards the end of the commercial, a voiceover asks, "How many moments have you lived?" The TVC ends with the voiceover reiterating the tagline, 'Ritz - Live the moment'.

"Life presents us moments, small and big, all equally important - all to be experienced, loved and lived. It is this philosophy of life that the Maruti Suzuki Ritz stands for and is the new campaign's theme," says Kunal Gill, executive creative director, Dentsu Creative Impact.

Maruti Ritz: Romancing with life
Maruti Ritz: Romancing with life
Maruti Ritz: Romancing with life
With the huge and ever growing range of choices for the consumers in the A2 segment, it is important for the brand to have a distinct personality. The aim of the campaign is to create a well defined space in the minds of the consumers, who are dealing with a clutter of choices. Thus the challenge was not only to register on the consumer's mind space quickly and more effectively than the rest, but to reinforce its distinct proposition.

While talking about the numbers being used in the commercial, Gill adds, "The 'Live the moment' philosophy is all about enriching life through experiences that make up the emotional milestones through the journey of life. Numbers are an interesting and memorable device to quantify these moments and bring out the larger message that 'moments' - big or small - are there to be lived. They're all around us. We just need to enjoy them."

While speaking about the situations depicted in the commercial, Junichi Minohara, vice-president and executive director, Dentsu Creative Impact, says, "Each situation has been carefully selected in a manner that it is universal and thus relatable for our core target group. Also, it's not just one person's moments but how the car easily makes moments for different kinds of people.

"Moreover, each situation integrates the car and tries to highlight, in a subtle manner, some feature of the car. So, whether it is a small child standing on the tall roof of the car, or the baby sleeping in the silent cabin against the backdrop of a cacophonic street carnival - each moment also conveys some benefit of the car."

Ever since it was launched, the positioning for Ritz has always been 'Live the moment'. Earlier campaigns have focused on the car, its design and styling, and its many features. Having gathered enough momentum in terms of sales and consumer preference, Maruti Suzuki wanted to create a strong emotional connect with its consumers.

The brief was to give the brand some life and meaning, to blend perfectly with its tagline in order to create excitement in the potential buyers' minds. This campaign, for the first time, amplifies the core brand message.

Minohara adds, "The Maruti Suzuki Ritz has been positioned as an ideal companion for young urban families - who are carefree, stylish and intelligent and strike a perfect balance of purpose and fun in life. The Ritz, with a stylish design and loads of practicality, lives up to this spirit of balancing purpose and fun - a fact perfectly captured by the tagline, 'Ritz - Live the moment'."

Shashank Srivastava, chief general manager, marketing, Maruti Suzuki, says, "We wanted to put forward a different message through the new commercial. In the previous campaigns, we showcased the product characteristics. However, in the new one, we wanted to play with the tagline."

He adds, "Ritz is about those moments which are not very big but pleasurable. We want the car to connect to one's day to day activities and associate with the related memories, thus justifying the tagline."

The music is by Ram Sampath. Gill says, "The music needed to bring out the small, beautiful nuances of the moments and bring to life the lyrics and the philosophy of Live the moment. Ram has done full justice to it."

The team at Dentsu Creative Impact comprised Sambit Burman and Hitesh Chhabra (account management); Sunayna Sabharwal (creative director) and Avinash Chauhan (art director). The TVC was directed by Anurag Basu and produced by Full Moon Productions.

Will the campaign work for Ritz?

Maruti Ritz: Romancing with life
Maruti Ritz: Romancing with life
According to Prathap Suthan, outgoing national creative director, Cheil Worldwide, it is a very good looking commercial, albeit one that will be played and then forgotten. "I am not too sure that all that's happening in this commercial is specific to the car. The romance, the proposal, the closeness and the togetherness can happen in any other car. Hence, it's too generic. Besides, there have been too many car commercials with man, and woman, and love, and everything else mushy. I didn't see anything that sold me the car, or its concept. Then why should I consider it? I might as well live in my house and count moments," he adds.

He feels that this commercial could have been for a real estate brand and the 'Live every moment' thought could have easily carried it through. "It is too safe - nothing that provokes, nothing that engages. I wish the agency and the client went a little younger, bolder and braver with the car."

Nitin Pradhan, executive creative director, Leo Burnett, echoes the views of Suthan and says that there is nothing very new in the commercial. The thought of showing a happy family and happy moments is a very old concept. It seems that the concept has become a blind spot for all advertisers.

"The idea in the TVC is not getting connected with the car. It is not portraying the uniqueness of Ritz. The situations which are shown happening inside the car can happen outside, too," he concludes.

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