Sohini Sen

Fastrack's Clean Sweep

Titan's youth accessories brand has released a campaign that condemns littering. This marks a shift away from its usual, bolder 'Gen-Y' subjects like threesomes and homosexuality.

Sure, youngsters are brash and impulsive, but they can also be extremely responsible. This seems to be Fastrack's message in its latest brand campaign. The youth accessories brand from Titan has taken a stand against littering. Why, we wonder.

Fastrack's Clean Sweep
Fastrack's Clean Sweep
Fastrack's Clean Sweep
Hemal Panchamia, head, marketing, Fastrack, tells afaqs!, "We look for new brand propositions every year. At the start of this year we sat and tried to figure out what the youth are talking about. We realised that they have moved away from relationships but are vocal about day-to-day irritants that impact their lives."
Fastrack's Clean Sweep
Fastrack's Clean Sweep
Littering, Panchamia tells us, turned out to be an issue the youth feels strongly about. Of course, staying true to its youthful and bright style of advertising, the campaign is "not a call to action" at all. Instead, it is a light, fun take on how sometimes the people who litter should be thrown out themselves! The TVC ends with the brand's philosophy, Move On.

Fastrack's media mix consists primarily of TV (40 per cent) and outdoor (40 per cent), while the rest is divided equally between in-shop, print and digital communication.

The TVC has been shot in Cape Town and features South African models. Recall the brand's recent 'Just Be' billboard campaign, which featured dark-skinned models? Does featuring non-Indian serve a strategic purpose? Not really, we learn. The decision to go to Cape Town was more for a logistical advantage than a strategic one. It is convenient to shoot in South Africa as permissions are easier to get, Panchamia tells us.

"For our last (billboard) campaign, we took African models," he says, "because our brand needed someone to embody the youth, someone who doesn't give a damn. Africans, generally, embody that personality."

The current TV campaign comes at a time when the country is taking cleanliness quite seriously, what with PM Narendra Modi starting the Swach Bharat Abhiyaan.

When asked why Fastrack has shifted focus from bolder issues like one-nights-stands and live-in relationships, Arun Iyer, national creative director, Lowe Lintas + Partners, the agency behind this campaign, says, "Today's youth are increasingly becoming responsible. They are taking action about certain things, but maybe in their own irreverent style. We haven't moved away from the previous stand we took."

The TG for the brand remains the same, despite the high 'social' quotient of this campaign. It hopes to stir to the 18-21 year old city-dweller.

While the largest chunk of Fastrack's revenue comes from its watches, the brand also markets accessories like sunglasses, helmets and laptop skins.

Does the campaign work?

Fastrack's Clean Sweep
Fastrack's Clean Sweep
Alok Nanda, founder of Alok Nanda & Company, a communications agency, feels the campaign is evidently riding on the cleanliness drive that's in the media right now. He says, "The current campaign is far from risqué. In a campaign where a high volume of video is being churned out, there will always be some ads that are less impactful."

Nanda is quick to add, nevertheless, "But Fastrack hasn't lost its groove yet."

Anu Joseph, executive creative director, Creativeland Asia, is of a different view. He feels this ad is no less 'risky' than the brand's previous films. He points out that there is "no hard sell" in this ad; he is referring to the absence of the product range shot at the end.

"The TVC comes at a time when India is gearing up to be a cleaner India. So, it's a topical premise. If previous Fastrack commercials reflected changing personal mores, this one reflects a changing social one. And it fits in perfectly with Fastrack's brand philosophy - Dump old and irrelevant things, and move on," Joseph comments.

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