In a new ad we spotted as a YouTube pre-roll this week, the tyre brand ditches functional specs for a father-son story.
Sometimes the subtle thread that connects an ad film's storyline with the product can become almost invisible. Often, an ad for one product could be mistaken for another because the story tends to be too deep, creating what could, at times, be a little too much suspense until the big reveal. Keeping that sentiment in mind, it's a rarity that we see a brand in the tyre manufacturing segment capture a father-son or sibling bond through a conversational and less visual ad film. JK Tyres took up the challenge with their latest film.
The tyre manufacturer has released a new minute-long (1 min 20 sec) spot as part of the brand's #LetsRide campaign. The first leg of the campaign made its debut some time around Rakshabandhan this year (August), celebrating the bond of togetherness between siblings.
Earlier this year, tyre manufacturer JK Tyre & Industries, the market leader in the commercial vehicles (CV) segment, was looking to expand its presence in the two and three-wheeler space by adding more original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to its customer list.
The company, which is the largest player in the domestic truck and bus radial tyre segment, has recently added two OEMs to the segment. Earlier this year, the brand posted a 77.54 per cent increase in its consolidated net profit at Rs 158.87 crore for the fourth quarter that ended in March 2018. Conceptualised and executed by the agency Listening post, the brand makes an attempt to connect with the viewers on a thematic and emotional level rather than hard selling a product .
Getting back to their latest ad, the major risk this film runs is that people may not grasp the product in the first go. There's no mention of the features, functionality or even the segment, to determine the product type, right until the very end. Given today's viewers' short attention spans, an ad that doesn't reveal or even hint at the product and/or its features from the get-go, could, potentially, do poorly with audiences.
Rohit Raj, creative chief and co-founder, The Glitch also highlights that there was no product feature he could spot in the entire commercial. "Even at the end, the ad came off looking more like one for an Enfield bike rather than JK Tyres," he says, adding, "... with zero takeaway on the product, the only reason one would sit through this is that the storyline seemed interesting. Unfortunately, Brands need to understand that attaching a logo at the end of a good story doesn't make it a piece of branded content and I feel JK Tyres has fallen into the same trap."
So, the question is, in such niche (if one may call it that) advertising, especially for a product category like this, can an ad like this really help the brand grow in terms of brand visibility?
Raj feels that JK Tyres tried their hand at 'sad-vertising' here. However, they left out the most important ingredient - the brand proposition itself.
'Sadvertising' is a term coined after a plethora of highly emotional advertising came out of Thailand. Just as it sounds, it is advertising that uses sad (but not necessarily unhappy) emotional stories that engage audiences and touch a nerve.
"There is no form of 'Let's Ride' or 'total control', that the brand claims to stand for, that comes across anywhere in the film and I feel it does nothing for the brand in terms of recall," Raj points out.
When asked what he would change/alter about the execution of the ad, Raj states that he would probably rework the script to include the brand positioning somewhere.
"If JK Tyres stands for total control, the script needs me to see that sentiment come through along with some form of an association with the product. In this case, the association was zilch, even when the brand reveal comes through," he adds.
According to Chitresh Sinha - CEO and head, Innovation, Chlorophyll Innovation Lab, the short attention span of the millennial audience is a myth. "If your content is engaging enough, people will watch it," he says.
"One of the most watched commercials of 2018 - Samsung Bixby was over 3-minutes long!", he states, making an emphatic, but somewhat relevant point.
In a category where the product's benefit may not have been extremely differentiated for the end consumer, it makes sense to highlight an emotional appeal in the communication. However, there needs to be a connect with either the brand ethos or the product benefit, at the very least.
"While I like the ad, it does make me wonder why JK Tyres and not any other. #LetsRide seems like a very generic idea," Sinha adds.
"The insight of modern parenting and showing the bond between a son and his father is quite refreshing. However, a more own-able connect between the idea and the brand would have been great. A clearer link between #LetsRide and the brand belief of total control needs to be established," Sinha signs off.
A quick look at some of the ads released by the brand in the recent past:
A look at some of the ads released by the major rival brands in the recent past: