Reviewer: Sainath Saraban
With more than 16 years’ experience in advertising, Sainath Saraban, executive creative director at Leo Burnett, Delhi, has worked on brands such as Thums Up, Maaza, Samsung, Levi’s, Pizza Hut, Perfetti, Kingfisher and General Motors.
Ordinary: Sainath Saraban.
The new brand campaign for Hero MotoCorp Ltd by Law and Kenneth focuses on seemingly ordinary Indians who try to achieve the extraordinary. The campaign, featuring A.R. Rahman, seems to suggest the group’s new brand identity mirrors the face of new India.
What did you think of the new brand campaign?
If the campaign is about informing us that the Hero corporate identity has changed, it does the job. If the campaign is trying to arouse any emotions even remotely linked to inspiration, it falls woefully short. The situations are clichéd, the acting is staged, the production is decent, the casting is regular and the music, which one has huge expectations from, considering the composer is A.R. Rahman, is not a patch on what we’ve heard from him over the years. The man, in this case, is bigger than the song. Overall, I feel that this campaign is very ordinary.
Falling short: The music is not a patch on A.R Rahman’s earlier work.
For a brand which has relied on multiple celebrity endorsers, does it make sense to go with just one for this campaign?
In this case Rahman is not a celebrity who is seamlessly woven into the communication. We are being informed that the song has been composed by him by showing him in a few shots. Airtel used Rahman pretty well, as the celebrity in their launch, and there he organically created the song using the environment, the phone and his spontaneous instinct as a composer. In the Hero film, he merely appears in a few shots, singing a couple of lines. That doesn’t make him the endorser of the campaign. The faces you see in the film are of ordinary people “trying” to be extraordinary in their own way.
What must a brand keep in mind while revamping its identity?
When you’re as huge as the Hero group, you need to make a leadership statement. If Honda is not part of the name any more, Hero must understand what the implications of that are in the minds of the consumers and just work towards wiping out any sense of doubt or “what next?” by making a supremacy statement. People will believe you. After all, you have delivered world-class products over the years consistently. In my opinion, they should be two things. Be proud. Be Indian.
Which brand, to your mind, has done a good job of seamlessly changing its brand identity?
Hutch to Vodafone was awesome. Overnight, the Hutch brand name was replaced not just in press and TV, but in every point of contact a consumer would have with the brand. One night he went to sleep a Hutch customer. He woke up the next morning a Vodafone user. That was brilliant. What I got from that was complete reassurance, pride and belonging from a brand I use each day of my life—didn’t feel like a shift at all.
As told to Gouri Shah.