MG is a British automotive marque, and M.G. Car Company Limited was the British sports car manufacturer that made the marque famous. As a new entrant in India there was a lot of anticipation about MG’s advent in India. However, around the time when MG launched its first four-wheeler HECTOR the market was experiencing an unprecedented slump. Auto sales had been stagnant for 9 months and showed a precipitous decline for 4 months leading up to July ’19. Despite all odds, Hector was launched in a high growth, high competitiveness segment. MG’s obvious choice for sporting association was cricket based on the massive viewership and fan-following of the sport in India.
MG deemed the Indian cricket viewership as the most befitting sports association for helping them achieve the target of acquiring a respectable market in India. This trial was prefaced with the IND/AUS series where MG kicked off the TV and digital advertising about Hector. Ad campaigns were furthered in the following IPL, in March 2019.
The success at IPL fortified MG’s objective of establishing itself in India. After observing the immediate impact of its ad campaigns around the IND/AUS series, MG Motors seemed to be more convinced about investing all their resources on Cricket as the preferred advertising medium for the crucial Hector launch.
The campaigning for the launch of Hector began in February, ’19. This was around the time of the IND/AUS series and MG was aiming to leverage the benefit of cricket viewership for promotions. Although there were other channels through which MG pushed advertisements but TV ads comprised of a major chunk of their promotions. This was a major risk to take as the automotive market was going through a slump and sales had to battle the slim chances.
As per BARC data, by April, MG sanctioned all ad-spend towards sports (IPL), taking encouragement from the response that sports viewership brought them in previous months. Now with 100% focus on sports, MG went all-out with its advertisements during the IPL and received significant boost through this exercise. This was relatively more difficult as a new entrant in the market, but MG’s ad campaigns resonated with the Indian audience and hit the right chord.
Unlike advertising in the Indian automotive sector, the ad for Hector featured Benedict Cumberbatch and was seen drifting away from the conventional ‘macho’ representation of automobiles in India. Highlighting the sensitivity and ease of simple living, MG Hector’s ads were welcomed by the Indian audiences with arms wide open and people began booking the Hector soon after its ad hit the market.
IPL solidified MG’s beliefs in the power of sports advertising and claimed its dominance in the sector. The audience’s awareness with respect to the image parameters of the brand saw an astonishing spike after the IPL. This indicated that MG’s marketing campaign was now bearing the sweet fruit of success.
This was a big win for MG because it was able to attract customers even during a time when the automotive market was undergoing a low slide. MG received 20,000 bookings during the IPL phase and as per Google search analytics, was trending on no. 4 after IPL. This led to a huge up-slide in demand and MG had to halt the booking procedure in order to meet the present demand of the market, going on a 7-8 months waitlist.
MG had broken the trend of the auto mobile industry as a newest player in the market. Sidelining other relatively successfully competitors that were dominating the market before its launch, in the second quarter of the fiscal year 2019 MG not only overshadowed its competition but also established itself in the Indian market for good.
As of today, Hector is doing great business and people have found a new automotive favorite in terms of accessibility and ease.