Naresh Gupta, Managing Partner and Chief Strategy Officer, Bang in the Middle, takes a look at the turn that automobile ads are taking in India and feels that the zing factor is somewhat missing in the ads
Delhi | July 21, 2015
Honda, Hyundai, Suzuki, Volkswagen, Nissan are all battling for consumer mind space, pushing out new cars or new features and thus, new ads. In this whole battle, joining the forces is ZoomCar and even Uber.
Automobiles, specifically cars, are the biggest category in the world for the communications industry. In India, the days are not far when the bell weather for all things in advertising will be automobiles (and telecom).
Auto ads in India have certain elements that you can see across all advertising. Most ads will have a singular driver, sometimes will have a couple, a range of drive shots highlighting the looks of the car, close shots to show the new features that come in. Sometimes it becomes difficult to differentiate one car ad from another for they all play on the same thing.
Honda has launched the all new Jazz. The launch ad was preceded with a teaser that built on the newness of the car. Both the teaser and the commercial build the looks and capability of the car. The overall packaging of the communication is smart, makes the car look sleek, but somehow leaves the audience a bit cold. The new Jazz could have created a deeper emotional connection with the rider (the Thai TVC for Jazz does it better).
This war would be interesting to watch – Hyundai has just released the teaser for Creta, while Suzuki has unveiled the S Cross. Both Creta and S Cross are crossovers and to an extent will be competition to Jazz. S Cross does some very cool advertising in Europe and if they carry the positioning to India, we may have some memorable advertising.
Automatic transmission is the new toy that automakers are using to create appeal. Nissan Micra is the latest to introduce the automatic. The ad features a young couple and their drive to supermarket to buy groceries. The car goes through narrow lanes, tight corners and carts, drops an orange in the back seat and drives back home. The wife realises what the hubby is thinking and offers to do the shopping. At a time when young couples are giving up physical grocery shopping, to see a car brand pushing grocery shopping is a contrarian thing. In the Micra versus App battle, who will win? Would the brand not have won greater following if they had pushed the context?
In this battle, the new players are car hailing apps and rental companies. Fundamentally these apps and services do not want you to buy a car. This makes it easy for them to shift from driving ownership to enjoying the drive. While enjoying the drive is an appeal that brands of cars always use (the new VW Vento), the context is always is from ownership perspective.
ZoomCar is a new car rental service that allows you to hire cars for self-drive. The range of cars they offer spans from small Ford Figo to the cool Mercedes CLA. The new service has created a ‘music video’ that celebrates the feeling of drive. Bereft of the reason to push ownership, the video tells an involving story of discovery and friendship through driving. While the video changes the auto context by making driving a social activity. Therein lies new opportunities for car brands.
Meanwhile, Uber continued on its merry ways by creating #UBERSupercars. Who all managed a ride in the supercar?