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Saregama Carvaan wishes Happy Mother's Day in Retro style

By Sunit Roy , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising
Last updated : May 14, 2018
The brand releases first-ever TVC for its portable digital audio player.

Last summer Saregama introduced its portable, digital audio player 'Carvaan'. Since then, the Saregama Carvaan has been introduced in Marathi, Bengali and Tamil variants as well. The response for the product from regional audiences has been phenomenal having effectively reached out to a strong vernacular audience. In Q3 of 2017-18, 1,32,000 units of 'Carvaan' and 'Carvaan Mini' have been sold. Till date, in the three quarters, the brand has sold 2,41,000 units. The sales in metro cities have been meteoric and with the launch of the regional variants, the brand is optimistic about seeing a fillip in sales from the smaller/ Tier-2 cities as well.

As part of the marketing strategy, the brand released a five-minute-long digital campaign in November 2017. It created a sense of nostalgia and brought back fond memories from the bygone era to hundreds of people through a super-hit track - 'Lag ja gale ke phir yeh...'

Now, almost a year since the product made its debut, the brand has released its maiden TVC campaign - a series of three ad films - 30 seconds each, conceptualised by The Womb and directed by Amit Sharma of Chrome Pictures. While the focus, up to now, was on digital campaigns with social media activation and below-the-line activities, the current campaign leverages on Mother's Day. It focuses on a simple thought: a tribute to your very first love - your mother.

"We are asking youth to gift their mothers a slice of their youth; a throwback to the music they grew up to... The ads celebrate the inherent joy a child has in seeing his/ her mother let loose and enjoy with music, reminiscing about her days of their youth. What better time to launch such a campaign than in the month of Mother's Day," explains Vikram Mehra, CEO, Saregama.

Interestingly, the communication strategy has been consistent in the digital as well as TV ads. Both campaigns talk to the younger generation about giving Carvaan to their parents as a unique and special gift. The first digital ad depicted how music is an integral part of everybody's life, which the brand wanted to tap into. The ad was hugely successful in exuding that sense of musical nostalgia - how important events in our life are linked to music and how Carvaan is a simple hark back to those memories and is a perfect gift for parents. The new TVCs are short and snappy and more product-centric with a nostalgic element that's amplified through the choice of songs and the emotions displayed by the mothers.

We asked Mehra why the brand took almost a year to launch its first TVC and what was the insight behind positioning Carvaan as the perfect gift for youngsters to give to their parents.

Vikram Mehra Vikram Mehra

Kawal Shoor Kawal Shoor

"All our research and buyer data have shown that people have taken to Saregama Carvaan as a perfect gift item for their loved ones, be it their parents, grandparents, teachers etc. We took this learning and created a campaign that speaks to every son and daughter out there, asking them to celebrate their special bond with their mothers with the special gift of Carvaan. It's a gift that will take your mother on a nostalgic trip to her heydays, her youth and the pure joy of rediscovering the same through music," says Mehra.

Agreeing with Mehra, Kawal Shoor, founding partner, The Womb, says, "Right from the first day we (Saregama and The Womb) have been clear that Carvaan needs to be positioned as a gift the young can give to the elderly. The reason is simple - Carvaan is a modern product, built on today's technologies - internal memory, USB etc. The hardware is young and the content is old. Now, the small-town elderly are simply not bothered with new technologies. Our research showed that in spite of so many modern ways of listening to music, they still loved the serendipity and lean-back experience of the radio, but they weren't getting their songs on today's radio. So, Carvaan as a concept is easy to comprehend for the young but is designed to be enjoyed by the elderly. And anyway, how many gifting options exist in this space?"

Connecting without Internet

From the product perspective, Saregama Carvaan is a unique innovation. It is a digital audio player, in a retro-physical form (in times when the physical consumption of music is completely gone), with 5,000 evergreen songs stored on board. It has a host of other modern features like FM, USB and Bluetooth support. By highlighting the fact that Carvaan needs no internet connection, the brand shows the simplicity and ease in the consumption of one's favourite songs on this product. It's not dependent on any external factor or variants such as a net connection, net speeds, data costs, etc. You have a beautiful retro-looking product with a treasure trove of the best songs from yesteryears that can be enjoyed easily - anywhere, anytime. It may look like an old-school radio but is outfitted with some of today's technologies (Bluetooth and USB Pen Drive compatibility) and is powered by a rechargeable battery.


However, the challenge for the brand was to communicate the USP of the product to the right audience. Therefore, the brand identified two distinct target groups for the product - the primary buyer and the primary user. The buyer would be young adults between the ages of 25-40 who would buy the product for their parents etc. and the user would be people above 45 who grew up with the collection of songs in Carvaan and who would want a product like that for themselves.

From the distribution front - the very newness of the product was something that threw many distributors off, at first. Since Carvaan is a unique device and there is no fixed type of outlet to sell this product, the brand had to develop a whole new category for distributors to adopt and stock it. "The challenge was to get the initial buy-in, but once we overcame that, the sellers saw the value and the response to it and became willing partners," says Mehra.


Talking about the media mix, Mehra says, "Every medium we chose - our media mix in TV, radio, print, digital, and OOH - was done keeping in mind who we were reaching out to and speaking to. We use TV and print to give the product the widespread reach and awareness. Digital, with its largely youth base, is there to supplement the other two media and drive online sales."

In terms of ad spends, Saregama will focus about 50 per cent on TV, 20 per cent on print, 10 per cent on radio, 10 per cent digital, and 10 per cent on OOH/events. "For the different regional variants, our media strategy is customised to the region we are talking to. In Bengal, for example, our media mix will reflect the daily media consumption habits of the people there; which media touch points do they engage in, with close attention to the socio-cultural context they operate upon. Similarly with Tamil and Marathi variants," informs Mehra.

Recreating the Magic!

We asked the experts if the new campaign succeeds in creating nostalgia as the previous digital ad film did.

Bikram Bindra Bikram Bindra

Titus Upputuru Titus Upputuru

Bikram Bindra, vice-president and strategic planning head, Grey Group - Delhi, says, "There is a nostalgic element to the product itself which gets amplified through the choice of songs and the emotions displayed by the mother. The TVCs seem to be targeting urban youth according to me - the appeal is possibly mass, but the communication TG is more specific."

He adds, "The ads are a sweet slice of life moments. I think the larger premise of doing something special for your mom is fertile, creative territory and can be leveraged across multiple touch points. Also, the timing around Mother's Day is a smart tactic!"

On the other hand, Titus Upputuru, national creative director, Dentsu One, admits that he has friends and colleagues who have already gifted the product to their mothers and that the ads may further fuel this growing trend.

"The campaign reminds me of DH Lawrence's cult novel, 'Sons and Lovers' which explores the intense relationship between Paul and his mother. Two of the three ads in this campaign show grown men indulging their mothers in song and dance. It is true that most Indian men share a very close bond with their mothers. A son's first love is his mother is a truism that even our films have celebrated since the Deewar days," he says.

For feedback/comments, please write to newsteam@afaqs.com

First Published : May 14, 2018

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