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Old 3rd September 2010, 20:13   #1
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Smile Indian Car Advertising Scene: A Critique

Car advertisements in India have hardly been big but with the recent car launches & intense competition I see that changing. World over a general ballpark for advertising budget in mass produced cars is 4-6% of sales. In India, Maruti especially, has definitely budgeted much less for adverts. VW on the other hand, probably to gain acceptance in Indian minds & because it’s a new entrant, has definitely a higher share of sales budgeted for ads.

I decided to compile the recent ads that have been launched (Television ads only) and see if we can get anywhere:

Let me start with what I think a car ad should convey:

1. Grab People – Force people to take a 2nd glance rather than moving on
2. Speak Loudly – The louder you talk, the more prople hear you
3. Don’t Make Them Think (Too Much)
4. Colors that convey the message & the brand image
5. A Feel-good feeling
6. A sort of an I-should-own-it aura around the brand & the car
7. Don’t state - Demonstrate. And that too subtly blended in the above 6 points
8. Live upto the promises made (technically not an advert feature but important in the general scheme of things)

Coming to the ads themselves:

Fiat Punto 90 hp: (had to start with it)

What’s right:
They’re advertising


What’s not:
1. They’re talking about GG designing the car. Hardly the message that’ll strike a cord with the masses – useful seconds wasted
2. The thief can’t steal the car – doesn’t emphatically put across the message as to why; secondly, I believe, as Indians, we trust the enterprising nature of our thiefs to be able to find a way out against any security feature – not a USP
3. Setting – Darkish underground (presumably!) parking lot doesn’t come across as an exciting setting
4. Azure colored car – heck even the black would have been better to bring an excitement for the car, red would definitely have been tops. Compare that with the striking blue Hyundai i20 against bright lights in the i20 ad ("parking full" ad)

5. The Blue&Me feature: probably the only thing that I’d classify as neutral but against the drab color/lighting scheme used, isn’t exciting
6. Most importantly, in the humor used (thief not being able to steal the car), the humor is so predominant that at the end of the ad, the thief remains in consciousness but not the ad per se

VW:

What’s right:
1. Very-very classy
2. You want to see the ad again & again
3. The ad holds you
4. It brings out the various cutting-edge features of it’s various cars
5. Against the white background, the color scheme is bright
6. Putting Polo alongside the Beetle & the Passat, pits it as an aspirational model too
7. The ad inspite of so many models remains uncluttered
8. The ad intends to make the VW brand register in people’s minds & does exactly that

What’s not:
1. The accent of the user describing each car’s user is slightly unclear & you tend not to catch what’s being said
2. A new model appears on the screen before you can register the previous one; but I think that the ad’s aim is to publicize the VW brand rather than individual cars

Maruti Ritz:

What’s right:
1. Maruti’s advertising – in Indian parlance, that’s half the batte won
2. The color scheme used is bright (ad’s shot in sunlight)
3. It brings out the product features amazingly (space and boot – how about you could have both; very-very effective)
4. It’s confident; doesn’t apologize about it’s looks
5. It’s got a feel-good feeling around it
6. I didn’t think I’d say it but to a regular person - post the advert, purchasing the car would give one the feeling of having “arrived”

What’s not:
1. It doesn’t dwell on the surroundings & the exteriors; could have pepped up the ad
2. As a family car, it could have shown a happy family around the car; somehow the car comes across as a slightly bachelor-ish car (but maybe that could have been by design)

Hyundai Verna Transform:

What’s right:
1. The ad’s bright; the ad’s actually got a freshness in it (for want of the correct phrase: It’s a very airy, windy ad!)
2. The ad has a feel-good feeling around it

What’s not:
1. IMO, for a car that will be looked at as a sedan purchase, the ad’s not aspirational enough
2. The ad lacks a sophisticated appeal around the car
3. Somehow, it doesn’t grab the eyeballs as the VW ad does; seen it once, you don’t necessarily want to see it again

Awaiting your feedback and comments.

PS: My first post after graduating from a Newbie to a BHPian. After posting, I was waiting for the screen that said "the post is waiting for moderator approval". But voila, I see the thread created. Yippeee!

Last edited by manishk83 : 3rd September 2010 at 20:16. Reason: My first post after graduating from a Newbie to a BHPian. Though of adding a PS.
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Old 3rd September 2010, 20:45   #2
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Good thread, would be interesting if followed up properly. On the other hand, I cannot recall any ad off hand as it has been ages since I watched television. Will surely concentrate on that.
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Old 3rd September 2010, 21:28   #3
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nice observations!!

I would love to see your observations on the new set of TATA ads.

The one in which the guy with a oh-i-just-got-an-orgasm look on his face and the safari ad!

Both of the ads do not say anything about the product for first half and the product just arrives and I guess all the factors you have mention for a good car ad are there in both!
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Old 3rd September 2010, 21:34   #4
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Tata Safari "Reclaim your life" ad campaign was really good,and showed all the strengths of the and gave a new life to this model.

You have to really think to come up with recent car ads which are worth remembering!

PS nice first thread!

Last edited by avishar : 3rd September 2010 at 21:35.
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Old 3rd September 2010, 21:57   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avishar View Post

You have to really think to come up with recent car ads which are worth remembering!

PS nice first thread!

.


There is not one ad I can recall. Most of the adverts are see-forget types.

Nevertheless, interesting thread, will follow it keenly.

@ OP, MBA student/graduate ah ?
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Old 3rd September 2010, 23:01   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anilisanil View Post
I would love to see your observations on the new set of TATA ads.

The one in which the guy with a oh-i-just-got-an-orgasm look on his face and the safari ad!

Both of the ads do not say anything about the product for first half and the product just arrives and I guess all the factors you have mention for a good car ad are there in both!
True! Both of the ads are very-very worthy ads.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sachinj12 View Post
.


There is not one ad I can recall. Most of the adverts are see-forget types.

Nevertheless, interesting thread, will follow it keenly.

@ OP, MBA student/graduate ah ?
I know, I watch too much TV for my own good.

MBA, yes.

Here's an extension of the previous post:

Maruti Alto K10:

What’s nice:
1. Energetic ad that conveys the feeling of power wtht actually mentioning it (Dhan Te Nan song)
2. If the target clientele is the young college going crowd purchasing a first car, bang on!

What’s not:
1. I believe MSIL’s target is the young family specifically in the B & C-grade towns. The ad doesn’t strike a chord with them
2. The ad doesn’t bring out any features, USP or an aspirational value to the car (compare that with the previous Alto ad where the young guy goes on a ride with the girl whom he plans to marry – there was a definite charm to that ad!)
3. I somehow believe ads shot in the dark should be for those really “pricey”, sophisticated cars (black is the classiest color); while cars in the affordable, family segment are best portrayed in daylight (to associate “sunshine” with it)

Indica Vista:

What’s nice:
1. The ad, for the first time, portrays Vista as an aspirational car (notice the darks & grey hues – darkish tone, though not dull like the Punto 90hp setting, leading a sophistication to a car and brand generally associated with taxis)
2. The music (trumpet?) sort of feels like announcing the arrival of a car to be reckoned with
3. The ad brings out the handling capabilities of the car. Especially against the bright background, it registers (unlike the Punto 90hp ad)
4. Actually considering where Tata is looked at currently vis--vis competition, I think the ad does a lot of good to the brand
5. The baldish guy and his histrionics (EDIT: Orgasmic look. Thankyou @anilisanil) actually make you remember the ad after it’s off the screen – a master stroke
6. I think the Vista ad is an example in successful execution of a great idea & a great car (vis--vis previous Tatas’)

What’s not:
1. I don’t know but I think had there been a more contemporary, boy-next-door type man in his early 30s, the image that the ad would have projected would have been completely different; don’t know whether that would have been better or worse

Ford Figo:

What’s right:
1. An extremely bright & youthful ad (that IMO doesn’t deter it from being perceived as a young family car)
2. The association with “mahendi” (newly-wed girl’s mahendi on the mahendi colored dashboard – a master stroke again!) & a newly married couple enjoying the Figo ride, will IMHO do wonders for the perception of the car
3. As GTO pointed out in his test drive & review, they are always displaying the green car to not be classified as boring – same in the ad
4. Just watch the ad to realize how much better the Figo projects it’s Bluetooth-phone connectivity as compared to the Punto
5. The feeling’s so strong, I want to reiterate – Its such a BRIGHT & YOUTHFUL ad. You have to watch the ad to understand the feeling.

What’s not:
1. Somehow, the “Smart & Smarter” tagline doesn’t really strike a chord & actually appear childish. But to so many average joes, the association with “Dumb & Dumber”, Jim Carrey’s movie, will, I am sure excite.

Hyundai i20:

What’s right:
1. The bright Bollywood-ish lighting actually puts the car in the spot of a “film star”
2. The “Special Parking space for the i20” accentuates the “special” filmstar-like association
3. The bright blue car again reiterates the point (bright blues, purples & blacks, IMO are always associated with filmstars & class page-3 parties)

What’s not:
1. The lack of music is really the only blemish in the ad and a big one at that. Could have been so much better with a nice background score.


Tata Safari:

I believe, its in an altogether different class.


Disclaimer: As many others have done previously, I too have bashed Punto a lot; a lot of it deserving for such a crass ad, but some bashing was undeserved. But, it all boils down to the fact that with "Fiat", you just tend to expect so much more. More the expectations, bigger the heartbreak.

Last edited by manishk83 : 3rd September 2010 at 23:05.
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Old 4th September 2010, 10:56   #7
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Ads, IMHO have to be seen in context of what tag line is being touted. Some of like some ads, some dislike them and some plainly ignore them. I don't agree with your description of Fiat. Tag line is very clear - For a true fan. Anybody else is not invited. Whether this approach by Fiat is good or bad for them, only their management knows. Going by that tag line, other than lighting and car color, rest of it explains what a fanboy will like to know (if they already don't know ).

In the same breath, current ads of VW are great. The initial ones selling Polo, I found them to be distasteful. You check the robustness of the car by ramming headlong into a rhino? I am sorry, I am too dumb to understand the point.

Alto K10 ad, IMHO, promotes reckless driving. It encourages you to have your own discotheque inside the car (same as Xylo I guess).

Just my 2cents.
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Old 4th September 2010, 11:50   #8
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None of the car ads have that everlasting quality. I dont think anyone would remember these ads in another year or so. Few exceptions, or ads that I like are/were Tata - more car per car; Tata safari- reclaim your life; VW - kid booking a car etc.

I think the ads need to be a wee bit more aspirational instead of addressing the target segment square on. After all all cars are aspirational in India and there is a lot of heart involved along with mind during the buying decision. Along these lines the Forg Figo stands out among the current lot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NutsNBolts View Post
Ads, IMHO have to be seen in context of what tag line is being touted. Some of like some ads, some dislike them and some plainly ignore them. I don't agree with your description of Fiat. Tag line is very clear - For a true fan. Anybody else is not invited. Whether this approach by Fiat is good or bad for them, only their management knows. Going by that tag line, other than lighting and car color, rest of it explains what a fanboy will like to know (if they already don't know ).

In the same breath, current ads of VW are great. The initial ones selling Polo, I found them to be distasteful. You check the robustness of the car by ramming headlong into a rhino? I am sorry, I am too dumb to understand the point.

Alto K10 ad, IMHO, promotes reckless driving. It encourages you to have your own discotheque inside the car (same as Xylo I guess).

Just my 2cents.
A true Fiat fan is not much bothered about the blue & me or a thief not being able to break into, but more about GG design and the handling. So, like as Manish said, a better color would have helped.

I agree with you on the earlier Polo ads. They were distasteful. But I feel K10 ads and Xylo ads were not irresponsible, the Cruze ad was.
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Old 4th September 2010, 11:59   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mallumowgli View Post
tc.

I think the ads need to be a wee bit more aspirational .

Reminds of the epic Porsche commercial (1997), the boy walks to the Porsche showroom and tells the S.E, "See you in about 20 years from now"
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Old 4th September 2010, 12:05   #10
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liked this VW commercial. good one

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Old 4th September 2010, 12:26   #11
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Tushky, Amazing ad post, wanna buy WW rightaway, I step out and see a skoda and I trunaround.


Another powerful AD is the switf AD, my personal fav is


If you have observed over the years, once Maruti decides on a product placing it never changes and sticks to it thru thick & think [read Estilo]

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Old 4th September 2010, 13:04   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anilisanil View Post
nice observations!!

I would love to see your observations on the new set of TATA ads.

The one in which the guy with a oh-i-just-got-an-orgasm look on his face and the safari ad!

Both of the ads do not say anything about the product for first half and the product just arrives and I guess all the factors you have mention for a good car ad are there in both!
+1 to that.

the TATA ads are extremely well done though the cars may not set fire on the roads.

The best of the lot of car ads is the " Reclaim your life" complete with the outstanding background score.
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Old 4th September 2010, 13:08   #13
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I liked this one.....



Quote:
the TATA ads are extremely well done though the cars may not set fire on the roads.
Yup, their advertising is just too good for their product.

This below advert makes the Vista look like some rocket on wheels. I can understand if they had done something like this for the Chevy Cruze.



Shan2nu

Last edited by Shan2nu : 4th September 2010 at 13:13.
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Old 4th September 2010, 15:03   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tushky View Post
liked this VW commercial. good one
Excellent Brand Building Video! What a relief from the, "Our Engineers have tested" crap.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 4th September 2010, 15:41   #15
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Bajaj Avenger
this has to one of the best ads we have come up with. Other ads may come and go but this one i will probably remember forever. It has the music adding a completely new dimension to it and portrays the free spirit of biking really well (i know its a cliche but waht the heck!).
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