REVIEWER: Manish Bhatt and Raghu BhatWith around 13 years experience in advertising, Manish Bhatt and Raghu Bhat, founder-directors of Scarecrow Communications Ltd, have worked on brands such as Cadbury, Asian Paints, Wonderbra and Vaseline.
In the new campaign for Maruti Suzuki Estilo by Dentsu Creative Impact Pvt. Ltd, mannequins come alive at a research and development centre. The boy-girl mannequin pair is so fascinated by the car that they take it out for a spin. The idea: Come alive with Estilo. Take a fresh view of life.
What did you think of the ad?
Most of the question marks in this spot are related to execution, rather than the strategy. The feature being highlighted is the stunning looks. And the purported “benefit”—it makes you come alive. So it seems there is slight non-alignment? between the cause and the effect. Secondly, the effect of looks is always more apparent on the beholder, than someone who is in the car. This also creates ambiguity. Thirdly, “coming alive” is inherently a transformation of one’s mental state. Therefore, the literalness of the execution limits the transformation to the physical realm and hampers the emotional connect.
Is the brand premise in sync with the ad?
Advertising needs to pay close attention to the nature of the benefit. A great looking car is the response the communication seeks to evoke. However, the stimulus for evoking this response needs to?be something else,?not a super that proclaims “stunning looks”. The use of crash dummies is also debate-worthy—it’s not uniquely distinctive. At another level, Indians have a limited ability to get “emotionally involved” where the main protagonist is a mechanical contraption.? Having said that,?“coming alive” is a very promising brand idea. Because firstly, a car’s actually capable of delivering the “come alive” experience. Secondly, it positions (it) as a liberator from mechanical lifestyles and jaded mindsets.
Are car ads more effective with celebrities?
Don’t use celebrities while advertising a car. Imagine a hoarding with a celebrity on one side and the car on another. If the consumer gets 5 seconds to look at the hoarding, why would you want to have someone on the hoarding who sucks attention away from the car (and pay him a bomb to do so)?
Another cool ad in this category?
Car advertising is a tightrope act. It leaves you with very little space to manoeuvre. Many times, it’s a catalogue in audio-visual format. The solution lies in being single-minded. Be it the Maruti’s “Petrol khatam hi nahin hunda” or Volkswagen’s “Jones” spot, all memorable car advertising stems from a belief that an interesting human story will always find more takers than aesthetics and snazzy highway shots. In India, that’s what works.
As told to Anushree Chandran