CEAT's latest ad campaign, conceptualised by Ogilvy & Mather, takes another look at the idiots on the street.
While we may have several expletives at hand when we are at the wheel, CEAT has, for long, reserved the word 'idiots' for all the incorrigible menacing elements on Indian roads. Headquartered in Mumbai, the flagship company of RPG Enterprise, CEAT, launched the campaign, 'The streets are filled with idiots', back in 2011 and has kept the umbrella theme alive to date. The most recent ad titled - 'Meet The Mahapurush: Mr. Nehlau!', was released this year in the month of July.
We decided to dig deeper in order to gain an insight on how this idea was cracked. Nitish Bajaj, vice-president, marketing, CEAT, says, "The industry was becoming saturated with the ads that showcased the importance of tyres with excellent grip and how it can be fatal for the drivers. Such ads were getting morbid to some extent and used to infuse fear in the minds of the customer. Whereas, on the other side, ads simply demonstrated the superb quality of tyres by performing stunts and extreme race sequences, which were a visual delight but failed to connect with the everyday riders. The campaign's objective was to relate to the consumer and make them aware on how fatalities and mishaps are not always caused by the drivers, but by the surrounding elements. Every scenario depicted in the campaign is what an average Indian goes through on a regular day and that's where we expected the viewer to relate."
The campaign, which was originally released in 2011 was revisited by the brand in 2014 and is back in 2017. This year's rendition has so far seen three ad films, the first one being released on the brand's YouTube channel in January. The films portray different 'Mahapurush' on the road who disrupt traffic in a way only an Indian can. But what changed? Why is the campaign back with a new name and a slightly different avatar? "The campagin in 2011 'Be idiot-safe with CEAT' was a clutter breaker and had a very upfront and direct tone whereby the riders were made aware of the unsafe/idiotic actions by pedestrians and fellow drivers. The prime idea - to relate with the customers - was being achieved. In 2017, the 'Idiots on the road' has been refreshed as 'Mahapurush on the road'. Maintaining the brand tone of CEAT, i.e., cautioning as a friend, we have now infused satirical into the campaign," explains Bajaj.
Apart from this campaign, CEAT has kept its advertising front buzzing with various parallel campaigns. Campaigns like 'Happy Hours with CEAT' and the 'CEAT Puncture Safe Tyres' have all been running simultaneously. Bajaj says, "Happy Hours with CEAT is a part of the brand's 'Fuel smarrt' tyres' digital video series. The concept, message and the product of the two campaigns are world apart. In the 'Fuel smarrt' tyre campaign, we have launched a series of three videos of 30-45 seconds each, displaying the behaviour of the Indian consumer on savings. The target market and demographics of both the campaigns is different. 'Fuel smarrt' tyres is for the four wheeler category whereas the 'Puncture Safe' tyre is for two wheelers and that, too, only for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana markets, as of now. Also, the 'Puncture Safe' tyre TVC was launched specifically for this region." CEAT operates in a market that faces stiff competition from brands like MRF, Apollo Tyres, JK Tyres, among others.
Ogilvy & Mather is the agency behind this long running ad campaign. Harsh Bhatt, senior vice-president, Ogilvy & Mather tells us that the campaign was conceptualised on the back of a strong product proposition of 'superior grip'. He informs, "... at that point of time, no one had really owned (superior grip) in communication. It helped that the tyre itself was named 'Gripp'. We looked at the category from the point of view of bike riders. We felt they are at the highest risk on Indian roads, what with potholes, jaywalkers and cars all forming part of their daily hazard list. Understanding their woes was also a unique strategy while communicating."
However, how does an agency inject freshness and relevance to a campaign that has been in the industry for a fair number of days? Bhatt explains, "When the take on a category is so refreshing, it isn't really too difficult to take off a sustainable campaign. The term 'idiots' stuck on in the consumer's mind space and all we had to do was to keep building it with fresher, yet equally relatable situations. The 'idiots' campaign actually set the tone for something larger, a voice unique to CEAT, that of being a relatable, road reality check to the riders/drivers of India."
#ItHelps has been highlighted as the title for the new ads. "The new campaign actually romances each 'idiot' on the road at one level. Be it the 'mahapurush', 'the haath dikhau' or 'the nehlau' - here's where we intend to move the needle. As a brand promise it actually propels us to do something about the situation on the roads, beyond a mere observation. It's that call to action, which none of us on the brand could ignore anymore. So, while we build up perils (mahapurush) on the roads in ATL; digital and activation focused on living up to 'It helps'. Be it as a warning to dads of little kids to 'Drive Home safe', or repairing potholes during monsoons with the help of old tyres; it is about seeing 'It helps' in action. You would be experiencing many more 'It helps' initiatives in the days to come," adds Bhatt.