REVIEWER: SANTOSH DESAI
Santosh Desai, CEO and managing director, Futurebrands, is a brand consultant and marketing expert with over two decades in advertising. Desai has previously served as president of advertising agency McCann-Erickson in India. He is the author of Mother Pious Lady: Making Sense of Everyday India.
The TV commercial for Piaggio India’s Vespa scooter by Meridian Communication opens with a young man in a modern setting, cheerfully getting ready to go out. He jumps out of bed and straps on his helmet, styled as retro classic, yet modern chic. He gets on his Vespa in search of the perfect girl. He passes a few girls on the street before settling for someone who matches his style. Tag line: Vespa. Fashion Unchanged. Since 1946.
Your first thoughts on the campaign?
It’s a “mild” and charming campaign, but “light”, considering it’s an advertisement for the re-entry of an iconic brand like Vespa. It seems like the advertisement is not trying too hard to make an impact. It is retro in feel, which we have seen before and are familiar with, and gives a boyish and teflonic experience to the advertisement. But it is not memorable.
What would have you done differently?
An ad campaign can be creative in multiple ways. But this one leads you to wonder what the core thought behind the brand is. Who are you communicating with? What is the world that you, as a brand, want to create for yourself? Who is the man in the campaign? Who is the campaign made for? The core thought of the campaign is not clear.
Does a brand like Vespa, which is being resurrected, need the support of an iconic brand ambassador?
It’s not the least bit given that a brand like Vespa or the category needs a brand ambassador to give it a lift. What matters is what the brand creates for itself, the world it creates for itself. It also depends if you can find someone whose appearance and personality can match up to the brand.
Any other advertisements in the category of two-wheelers that you can compare this with?
This is not really a category that has distinguished itself by doing some phenomenal work. What others have done in ads such as Hero’s Scooty (featuring actor Priyanka Chopra, Why Should Boys Have All the Fun), is that they have actively tried to advocate a role in people’s lives. Some other campaigns are sharper and clearer in what they do. Vespa’s attempt is not clear here. In execution, it is a pleasing commercial but otherwise does not leave an impact.
As told to Suneera Tandon.