New Delhi:At a time when a young woman was recently stalked on the streets of Chandigarh, Bajaj Avenger, a bike brand from Bajaj Auto Ltd, shows a woman riding on a highway with absolute ease and abandon in its latest digital film.
Clearly set in a utopian India, the Independence Day special film correlates freedom of the country with the liberation of its women folk.
Made by advertising agency, Mullen Lintas the digital film opens with a shot of a truck driving on a highway giving way to the rider who is seen waving at the truck driver. The voiceover "The day she can make friends with who she wants" establishes that a woman is riding the bike. The biker breezes through the highway and paddy fields and stops at a dhaba, sharing a water pump with men to freshen up, changing to a pair of shorts and finding routes through Google Maps at night.
The video is accompanied by a thumping background score, interspersed with the tune of Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite devotional song ‘Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram.’ The spot ends with a quote from Gandhi: "The day a woman can walk freely on the roads at night, that day we can say that India has achieved independence", followed by the Bajaj Avenger logo and tagline ‘Feel like God’.
“Our brand stands for liberation and we always try to find the larger purpose of the brand in context to liberation. I sincerely believe that the true essence of a free country will come if the women in the country will feel liberated. It could be freedom from any kind of fears and insecurity including social, emotional or psychological," said Sumeet Bajaj, vice president – marketing, Bajaj Auto.
Apart from delivering a powerful social message, the campaign also reflects the trend of an increasing number of women taking to biking.
“While scooters are being used for functional usage, an increasing number of women are riding bikes supporting each other through various riding groups. Although the number is small, it is growing," added Bajaj.
The digital-only film is being heavily promoted across social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter along with streaming site YouTube.
“I think the film has turned out pretty well because of the novel execution as it talks about patriotism but from a new perspective. There couldn’t have been a better ending than the Mahatama Gandhi quote we have used," said Garima Khandelwal, executive creative director, Mullen Lintas.
The film was shot on the outskirts of Delhi and in a day’s time. The rider is Delhi-based model Samapti Patra who also happens to be an Avenger rider.
“We have shot the film as if a man would ride a bike without any fear on the highway. The Haryana stalking incident happened just after we finished shooting the film and we were surprised at the coincidence," said Akanksha Seda, director, Nineteen Films.
Jagdish Acharya, founder and creative head at advertising agency Cut The Crap said: “From framing to pacing, it’s copy book product montage, except that a girl is riding the bike. But from a marketer’s point of view, it is an intelligent connect made with great timing, with the Independence Day coming and the Haryana stalking incidence trending. A smart piece of research to unearth that quote from Mahatma that so neatly rounds up the film," he said.
However, Acharya feels that it ends up as a mixed bag on the emotive front. “Just when the bigger thought starts to sink in, a close up of the bike pulls you away and vice-versa. The best part of the execution is its sound track that blends cause and commerce more effectively than the script. At least for this film, the brand could have let her feel like a goddess instead of God?" said Acharya, referring to the brand’s tagline ‘Feel like God’ which appears at the end of the film.