Sumita Vaid

Preity Zinta is Santro's 'sunshine'

Preity is being pitched as the ‘physical embodiment’ of the sunshine that Santro hopes to bring to the lives of its customers

Caught the new commercials of Santro by Saatchi & Saatchi? No, Shah Rukh Khan is not zipping through traffic bottlenecks doing those Hollywoodish computer-generated car chase stunts. Instead, we have Shah Rukh chasing sunshine!

This is how Hyundai Motor plans to unravel the television campaign.

First the teaser ad. As Khan moans the heavy downpour, he notices a streak of sunshine. Accompanying the sunshine is a mysterious lady who steps into her Santro and drives away. Cupid strikes Shah Rukh and he chases her in his Santro along a … well … not-so-crowded road. But alas! Shah Rukh is stranded at a traffic signal, as it turns red. Preity, of course, crosses the signal in time and drives away leaving some sweet memories for her stalker, and her yellow-like-the-sun scarf, which flies out of her car window.

It is only in the sequel that Preity Zinta makes her appearance. The first in the series is currently on air, and there too, after a brief glimpse Shah Rukh loses track of Preity. She will reappear in two more ads which will be released before Diwali. The spent on the exercise: Rs 5 crore.

While Preity is not the brand ambassador of Santro, she has an important role to play, assures Hyundai Motor executives. She is the ‘physical embodiment' of the ‘sunshine' that Santro supposedly brings to the lives of its customers. "Santro has always been pitched as ‘The Complete Family Car'. But time has come to enhance this positioning. The idea is to create some excitement around the brand. Not that sales are dipping. But the problem is, so far, Santro ads had a very functional purpose. Now there is need to connect with our consumers at a personal level, and create an emotional bond. It is time to reaffirm Santro's contribution in the lives of its customers. To that end, we decided to revitalise the communication of Santro," explains Sanjeev Shukla, manager, marketing, Hyundai Motors.

To convey Santro's youthfulness without deviating from its core positioning of The Complete Family Car, the company decided to import the idea of ‘sunshine' into the brand proposition. So Santro is now ‘The Sunshine Car'.

Of course, when Hyundai was checking out ‘prospective candidates' to perform the ‘role' of ‘sunshine', (as reported by agencyfaqs! in an earlier story, Who will drive with Shah Rukh Khan? Preity, Sonali or Juhi) Preity Zinta seemed the perfect fit. "We were looking for someone with whom middle class families could related to. Someone who is sweet rather than sexy, warm rather than glamorous," explains Shukla.

To keep the excitement alive, the storyline has been broken up into four parts. The first ad was the teaser that introduced the concept of ‘sunshine' (without actually showing Preity Zinta). In the second part, we get a glimpse of Preity Zinta. It is only in the third part that the love between Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta blossoms. The final ad in the series would delve into ‘the chemistry' between the two. © 2002 agencyfaqs!

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