Maruti Suzuki has unveiled new campaigns for two of their hatchback offerings: A-Star and Alto. In a market which was once a major stronghold of Maruti, foreign players like Hyundai, Honda, Ford, Chevrolet etc. have made significant inroads. Maruti still leads the troupe, but they have aptly realized that they should take some steps of their own to defend their turf. Apart from the discounts that they are offering along with the other players, Maruti has rolled out the campaigns simultaneously.
Let’s talk about the campaigns :
The campaign is comprised of four different commercials, all of which are based on a concept of Wacky-pedia, which refers to ‘new definitions for old words’, primarily alluding to wacky interpretations of common day-to-day terms. Watch two of the four clippings below:
My take on this series:
a) No Connect established between the TG and the Product:
The company realized one thing correctly – the proportion of young Indians with disposable incomes at hand is growing at a rapid pace, thus forming a sizeable part of the TG for their product. Hence, the ad should be youth-oriented.
After this point, things went haywire. The ads establish no connection between the youth and the car. They just show youth doing some wacky things, and the car is in the background. The Car in itself has no youth-oriented features per se – if you are talking about youthfulness, the least that could have been done was offer more color/finish variations for the exterior. (The few times features have been alluded to indirectly, such as the power window buttons etc, they don’t even register for the viewer)
b) No Positioning Whatsoever:
‘Wackypedia’ is amongst the most lame positionings I have seen in recent times. Again, there is no connect between the positioning and the product. Bottomline, Wackypedia does not help a salesman pitch the car to a customer. This positioning is not able to embed any brand personality into the product and is hence not helping at all.
So, what they have come up with is an ad campaign which is not able to establish a synchronized line of thought between the TG, the Product and the Positioning. With the kind of expenditure they must have incurred, it seems to be a lot of money down the drain.
Another campaign by Maruti, for their largest selling car. Watch it below:
Maruti is a company which commands a very strong brand equity in the country, carrying images of reliability, sturdiness and being the perfect small car. But, they have not really used any of this equity to leverage their rich heritage. It is surprising and saddening that similar to the A-Star campaign, this is another campaign which was not well-planned, another campaign with no clarity of message conveyed.
About the ad:
Like the A-Star ads above, the situation is well explained, but there is practically no connect between the situation and the product. Agreed, the ad at least manages to convey the message that Alto offers a pretty good mileage, but it drives me nuts while trying to figure out how ‘search engine’ fits into this. (And, talking of emphasizing on mileage, I think Tata Indica did a rather fantastic job of focusing on the mileage they offer, with the campaign I discussed here. Check out the ad, I am sure you will agree that they transmitted the message with much more clarity and impact)
So, Alto’s campaign is another ad with a reasonably good background story but with no connect to the product. The positioning with the search engines seems to be an alien thought. (Infact, how was the search engine even relevant to the story, leave alone the product? And I think that according to the script, the protagonist was proved to be a bit stupid for not using an actual search engine, which would have given him immediate information on the Cafe)
All in all, a couple of disappointing campaigns from Maruti. For an organization with a heritage as rich as theirs, and a markethold as strong as theirs, they should have come up with something better.