Ashwini Gangal

Mahindra 2 Wheelers: Stallio branded as a soul mate; Mojo to be positioned as 'fastest bike'

Mahindra 2 Wheelers breaks an ad campaign for Stallio, which positions the bike as one that conquers obstacles

On October 17, Mahindra 2 Wheelers rolled out an ad campaign for its recently launched two-wheeler, Stallio. The 110cc entry-level bike was launched in the highly competitive motorcycle market on September 30, 2010. The campaign is a 360-degree effort, including TV, print, radio, outdoor and digital.

Currently, two TVCs featuring brand ambassador Aamir Khan are on-air. The films have been created by Mahindra & Mahindra's creative AoR, Interface Communications. The TVCs almost mock the uncalled-for aggression that has become a standard feature of bike advertising. The creative was conceptualised to reflect a personality that is diametrically opposite to that portrayed by the competition.

Mahindra 2 Wheelers: Stallio branded as a soul mate; Mojo to be positioned as 'fastest bike'
Mahindra 2 Wheelers: Stallio branded as a soul mate; Mojo to be positioned as 'fastest bike'
Specifically, while the industry trend is to show gravity-defying stunts to dramatise speed and performance as an exhibition of power and masculinity; the intent in the communication for the Stallio is to portray the bike as one that delivers on performance without making tall claims.

Stallio has been positioned as a stylish bike that comes with the reliability of the Mahindra brand, and therefore, gives complete peace of mind. In the films, Khan attributes 'jaan', 'shaan' and 'itminaan', that is, peace of mind, to the bike.

In the films, Khan talks about going back home to his waiting mother. One of the consumer insights used here was that Indian women tend to worry, when the men in their lives invest in two-wheelers.

While the objective of the communication is to get Mahindra Stallio into the consideration set of the consumer as a viable alternative in the entry-level segment; an equally important aim is to build an emotional connect for the brand in the consumers' minds. Khan's presence is aimed at garnering high recall in urban and semi-urban areas, creating instant brand awareness, recall and cut-through.

On the cards is the launch of yet another two-wheeler, Mojo, later this year or early next year.

Intense thought went into the manner in which these two new products have been branded and positioned, keeping in mind the respective target groups.

While Stallio targets consumers in the 18-25 years age bracket, Mojo will look to stir a slightly older set of individuals -- those in the age group of 25-35 years. Even as far as economic status is concerned, the two vehicles target varying TGs -- Mojo will target a more affluent TG vis-à-vis the Stallio.

Stallion's branding story

The name, 'Stallio' draws on the word 'stallion', which means horse. Viren Popli, senior vice-president, strategy and market development, two wheeler sector, Mahindra & Mahindra tells afaqs! that the relationship between the Stallio and its rider is akin to that between a warrior and his horse.

Mahindra 2 Wheelers: Stallio branded as a soul mate; Mojo to be positioned as 'fastest bike'
"There is a fast-moving rhythm to riding a Stallio; it has a sharp up and down movement, much like riding a horse," he muses, before going on to explain, "For centuries, the horse has been man's best friend and soul mate -- the two shared an emotional relationship that even his wife has had to respect." This positioning reminds one of Bajaj Chetak (which also means horse) that was launched years back. The motor-scooter was named after Chetak, the celebrated horse of Indian warrior Rana Pratap.

Thus, the Stallio logo resembles a galloping horse. The branding and logo design has been done by Lokus Design. "The logo for Stallio didn't call for extreme innovation. It is chrome (silver) in colour, as this symbolises its strong, yet non-aggressive, nature. The letter 'S' is deliberately made thick to underscore robustness -- a value of the brand," enlightens Siddharth Kabra, director, Lokus Design.

Kabra goes on to explain that the logo strives to reflect the telepathic connect that the rider is meant to feel with the Stallio. The chrome logo would appear on a black background on the bike.

It has also been learnt that during the ideation stages for this design, several parts of a horse's anatomy, such as its mane, muscles and neck, were used as part of the Stallio logo.

Mojo's magical design

The logo for the 300cc Mojo, on the other hand, is gold in colour, as the bike has a lot of gold-coloured parts; and more importantly, because the premium colour of gold is in sync with all that the bike stands for -- extravagance and extremes. The Mojo logo will appear on a cast aluminium plate.

Mahindra 2 Wheelers: Stallio branded as a soul mate; Mojo to be positioned as 'fastest bike'
"For the Mojo, efforts were taken to break away from the traditional way of writing brand names. A molten, fluid feel is intended in the logo," informs Popli. He adds that the high power machine stands for the riders' personal capability and self-confidence, as "The word 'Mojo'-- meaning magic charm that makes one look more appealing -- is reminiscent of 'Got My Mojo Working' by The Blues Brothers."
Mahindra 2 Wheelers: Stallio branded as a soul mate; Mojo to be positioned as 'fastest bike'
Kabra adds, "Essentially, the word Mojo is meant to convey libido and the visual language is of the 'flower power' variety, belonging to the late '60s and '70s. It carries sexual undertones without being crass." He adds that the lettering of the logo is rounded -- so as not to overdo aggression as a statement -- and is "fast-looking" in order to underscore the speed feature of the bike.
Mahindra 2 Wheelers: Stallio branded as a soul mate; Mojo to be positioned as 'fastest bike'
Mahindra 2 Wheelers: Stallio branded as a soul mate; Mojo to be positioned as 'fastest bike'
Mojo, which is being positioned as 'the fastest Indian bike' is neither an out-and-out cruiser nor a mere racer; rather, it has been stylised with a groovy, retro feel. The communication for the product (slated to roll out in a few months from now) would position the bike not as a regular mode of transport, but as a vehicle for passion riding or weekend escape trips.

For both the Stallio as well as the Mojo, the branding has deliberately been done on the side panel of the bikes, in order to avoid cluttering the fuel tank space. The tank will bear only the Mahindra & Mahindra logo.

Popli reveals the special marketing initiatives for the Stallio, which will exploit the digital space as well as utilise on-ground avenues innovatively. The first phase of the campaign ran on, an online community wherein people were required to apply for "the best job".

Out of 25,000 applicants, 20 were selected to execute the next phase of the campaign. "The winners will start an on-ground campaign. They will ride the Stallio, meet the other "job applicants" and blog/tweet about their experiences with the bike, along the way," says Popli.

The rides will last for six weeks and are slated to start after Diwali. There would be four starting points for the bikers, that is, Mumbai, Ladakh, Kanyakumari and a location in East India. "Post the journey, the riders will get to keep the Stallios," enthuses Popli.