Remember Maruti Suzuki's famous 'Kitna Deti Hai?' campaign. Through its quirky proposition, India's largest car manufacturer claimed to make India's most fuel-efficient cars. What if a rival questions this sentiment, albeit rhetorically, as part of its own campaign to perhaps promote a feature(s) of their own product? Is it controversial or simply catchy advertising? That's something we were curious about when Tata Motors took a jibe at Suzuki in a new spot.
Recently, Tata Nexon became the first made and sold in India car to achieve Global NCAP's coveted five-star crash-test rating. Hence, in its latest ad film - #SafetyFirst - the auto major put it to customers to ask the 'Right Questions' while purchasing a car like - "Kitni Safe Hai?" rather than "Kitna Deti Hai?"
Through this campaign, Tata Motors emphasizes the importance of vehicle safety. The brand aims at provoking the thoughts of today's customer and questions their outlook towards vehicle safety. It thereby urges them to prioritise safety while purchasing a vehicle, before considering functional parameters.
"We felt this was an opportune time for rolling out this campaign; keeping in mind the increasing number of fatalities in India per year due to road accidents. As a responsible brand, we wanted to highlight this important issue to the Indian consumer. Having delivered India's safest car (NEXON) gave us the confidence to walk the talk," says Vivek B Srivatsa, head - marketing, passenger vehicle business unit, Tata Motors.
The campaign created huge conversations on social media with the brand hashtag #SafetyFirst trending on Twitter during the Republic Day weekend. The campaign reached out to an audience of over 18 million across digital platforms and received more than 2 million video views across social media platforms.
Scripted and created by WATConsult, the campaign primarily focuses on reinforcing the thought of "Safety First" for potential car buyers and overall, takes a thought-leadership stance across segments for existing owners.
"While we agree that 'Kitna Deti Hai' is common verbiage when enquiring about a vehicle's mileage, we believe that it's time people shift their focus towards considering safety as the top priority when choosing a vehicle. We were pretty confident about the message we aimed to communicate. Hence, there were hardly any challenges while executing the campaign," says Kavita Natarajan, regional head (west) - operations, WATConsult.
The major campaign outlay was focussed on digital promotions. However, in today's day and age, no medium exists in isolation. So, the brand plans to use a mix of one or two or maybe all media, depending on the need of the campaign.
Taking the competition head on
India is all set to witness a flurry of off-roaders this year - Nissan Kicks, Mahindra XUV300, Hyundai QXI, Kia SP and MH Hector. The compact SUV segment is one of the fastest growing in the Indian automobile industry today with over 3 lakh C-SUVs (Compact SUV) sold last year.
Launched in September 2017, Nexon made a strong entry into the category and as per SIAM data, has secured the second position in the C-SUV segment. With average sales of 4500 units/month, more than 70,000 Nexons are currently running on Indian roads. "Tata Nexon has captured the imagination of customers from all geographies in the country. It is positioned as a youthful, urbane and exciting offering within the C-SUV market and has a strong presence in this segment. However, the style quotient of the Level Nex SUV makes it the preferred choice in urban markets," says Srivatsa.
At present, Tata Motors has a strong countrywide presence with 750 outlets and it plans to expand its network with 50 more in FY-19. The company plans to expand its network to 2,000 outlets in the next five years and create more opportunities to service its customers. This will include executing new systems, forming new service models, targeting niche segments through mobile service concepts, and even virtual dealerships across remote areas of India.
But is it looking at a global launch too? "We initially focus on shoring up demand for all of our products within India and, depending on the response, launch a model outside the country. Nexon, particularly, was launched in some of our neighbouring countries such as Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and has been well received in each of these markets," informs Srivatsa.
Is it the correct route?
We asked the experts if by taking a dig at Maruti Suzuki's famous 'Kitna Deti Hai' campaign, Tata Motors will be able to create a level playing field for Tata Nexon in the C-SUV segment.
According to Ramesh Narayan, founder - Canco Advertising and former president IAA India Chapter, in an increasingly "perfect-competition" world, the key to any successful product and communication is a differentiator. Tata Nexon has gone the 'safety' route; a bold and sensible route.
He says, "Volvo has built its entire portfolio around safety for years. Taking a dig at the competition simply gives 'free' recall to the first mover."
Naresh Gupta, managing partner and chief strategy officer, Bang in the Middle, is of the opinion that as the challenger brand, one has no option but to get cheeky. He says, "If Burger King is cheeky in fighting McDonald's, Tata can be cheeky in its fight against Maruti and Hyundai. I am sure they (Tata Motors) have deliberately targeted the known communication properties of competition. They have done it well."
As far as taking on the competition is concerned, Gupta says, "It's an open space for car brands; there isn't a brand where safety is a core value that they communicate. Whether Tata can appropriate safety as a value will need to be watched."
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