Riding on Salman
REVIEWER: CHONDAMMA CARIAPPA
Chondamma Cariappa, the creative director of Bates Advertising, has nine years’ experience and has worked on brands like Cadbury, Allen Solly, HSBC and Shoppers Stop.
Two-wheeler maker Suzuki Motorcycle India Pvt. Ltd’s latest campaign—Suzuki Hayate, yun hi nahi chalate! (It isn’t without reason that we ride Suzuki Hayate!), by RK Swamy BBDO Pvt. Ltd —opens with a scene in which a prisoner has escaped. Actor Salman Khan enters in a style reminiscent of his character Chulbul Pandey from the film Dabangg. He sets out to catch the criminal on his new Hayate. During the chase, he highlights the advantages of the motorcycle.
Mass appeal: The ad targets small-town customers and Dabangg fans.
First thoughts on the ad.
It’s entertaining, fun to watch and has great repeat viewability. But this is only because it has Salman Khan doing his Dabangg role. Also, the way it’s shot, the setting and the humour make it look and feel like an extension of the movie. The rhymes with the brand name are corny but anything Salman says or does is cool, so it works. The song is catchy and goes well with the commercial.
Is the ad betting high on Salman Khan’s appeal?
Salman’s appeal cuts across all classes of people, especially after the success of Dabangg. So the commercial is totally banking on that popularity. Without his Dabangg look and dialogue delivery style, the commercial wouldn’t work at all. Salman appears in quite a few commercials, but not all of them are entertaining. This one is.
Since ‘Dabangg’ is nearly two years old, is this ad coming in too late?
Yes, the ad is a bit late but it still works because the movie is fresh in people’s minds and is in the news often because of the making of Dabangg 2.
What kind of brand positioning is the company targeting with this campaign?
It’s clear that the commercial has a mass appeal and is targeting the rural and small-town customers, especially those who are fans of Salman and the movie. The brand positioning is not clear because the commercial doesn’t say much about the bike.
What would you have done differently?
I would have had a different brand name.
Are bikes an interesting category to advertise in?
Bikes are one of the most interesting categories to do ads for. But, unfortunately, most bike commercials focus on romancing the bike rather than building a story around it.
A stand-out international ad in the two-wheeler category?
Any of the Harley-Davidson commercials.
As told to Vidhi Choudhary.firstname.lastname@example.org