An old Strat­egy

The brand takes a dig at SUV own­ers in a new ad.

The Brand Reporter - - FRONT PAGE - By Su­raj Ram­nath su­raj.ram­nath@afaqs.com

Typ­i­cally, car ads are all about sleek prod­uct shots, still and in mo­tion. In a noteworthy de­par­ture from cat­e­gory codes, Skoda Oc­tavia has re­cently launched a TV-led cam­paign that high­lights a slew of prod­uct fea­tures (panoramic sun­roof, LED head­lights, fa­tigueal­ert and hands-free park­ing) through con­ver­sion, not vi­su­als.

In both ads, the bit­ter envy of SUV own­ers is high­lighted. The cam­paign ob­jec­tive is to po­si­tion Skoda Oc­tavia, a sedan, as a much bet­ter op­tion.

The ads have been cre­ated by Publi­cis Com­mu­ni­ca­tion, pro­duced by BCWW and di­rected by Kay Kin­zler. The me­dia agency for the brand is PHD In­dia.

Talk­ing about the rea­son for go­ing easy on the ‘prod­uct demo’ - in this case, car shots taken from dif­fer­ent cam­era an­gles - and fo­cus­ing, in­stead, on ver­bal com­mu­ni­ca­tion, Tarun Jha, head of mar­ket­ing and prod­uct, Skoda Auto In­dia, says, “It is al­ways good to ex­per­i­ment and do some­thing dif­fer­ent and we are bold enough to do it. This one doesn’t fol­low the norms. We are fo­cus­ing on our cus­tomers, the ones who buy our cars. It comes from a deeper in­sight into who these Oc­tavia cus­tomers are. So it speaks to them in their lan­guage. That’s why, we went for a dif­fer­ent kind of au­to­mo­bile ad­ver­tis­ing. Most of the time it’s all about ro­manc­ing the car.”

Jha adds, “Oc­tavia has been in the mar­ket for a long time and is a well­known car. It has been our flag­ship car and has built our rep­u­ta­tion in the coun­try and glob­ally. Oc­tavia is our best-seller, so we don’t have to es­tab­lish the cre­den­tials of the car so much.”

The core TG for the brand com­prises men in the 30-45 year bracket, from met­ros and sec­ond level met­ros, who like tech­nol­ogy, un­der­stand fi­nesse and are pas­sion­ate car own­ers who buy cars for them­selves and not to show off.

The TVC will be present across en­ter­tain­ment, in­fo­tain­ment, sports and re­gional news chan­nels. The brand is cur­rently also ad­ver­tis­ing on out-of-home chan­nels.

About the cam­paign, Bobby Pawar, MD and CCO, Publi­cis South Asia, says, “The whole idea is based on the re­grets that peo­ple who have bought some other car will have when they find out what the new Skoda Oc­tavia has. It’s about the envy that peo­ple will feel.”

CAM­PAIGN RE­VIEW

We asked our re­view­ers if it was a good enough idea to ver­bally ex­plain the fea­tures of the car rather than fo­cus on dif­fer­ent cam­era an­gles.

Saji Abra­ham, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor,

Con­cep­tu­ally, the ads re­mind us of the old ‘Neigh­bour’s envy - owner’s pride’ theme.

Lowe Lin­tas, says, “This is an in­ter­est­ing way to de­scribe fea­tures. We see Skoda talk­ing not just about fea­tures but the ef­fect that fea­tures have on other car own­ers. This is in­ter­est­ing and does make the fea­tures stand out as com­pared to merely stat­ing or show­ing them.”

Abra­ham feels that while this is in­ter­est­ing, the ad leaves a cou­ple of ques­tions unan­swered.

He adds, “Why do they call out SUV own­ers? Is it some­thing to do with their tagline ‘Where tough meets smart’? In which case only the smart as­pect has been shown and not the tough. In the sec­ond ex­e­cu­tion with­out the ref­er­ence of the SUV, the tough as­pect is even more lost. Per­son­ally, I like the hand­shake ad bet­ter as it cap­tures the hu­man in­sight of feel­ing di­min­ished when some­one buys a bet­ter car. On the whole, an in­ter­est­ing ap­proach but they could have worked harder at the ex­e­cu­tion.”

Bikram Bindra, vice-pres­i­dent and strate­gic plan­ning head, Grey Group, says, “Word of mouth to high­light de­sir­abil­ity isn’t re­ally a new cre­ative de­vice in au­to­mo­bile ad­ver­tis­ing. What this cam­paign does do though, is cre­ate play­ful ban­ter be­tween two in­di­vid­u­als to show­case prod­uct su­pe­ri­or­ity in­ter­est­ingly. This builds a cer­tain stick­i­ness and is cer­tainly more mem­o­rable than the clas­sic ‘ro­mance the car with a lot of prod­uct shots’ kind of ad­ver­tis­ing.”

He adds, “The ex­e­cu­tion of the ad is rather typ­i­cal - in terms of set­ting and cast­ing, it is clas­sic cor­po­rate hy­per male. It would have been in­ter­est­ing to break the mould and look a bit beyond the ob­vi­ous de­mo­graphic.” ■

“We are fo­cus­ing on our cus­tomers, the ones who buy our cars. It comes from a deeper in­sight into who these Oc­tavia cus­tomers are.” TARUN JHA

“What this cam­paign does do though, is cre­ate play­ful ban­ter be­tween two in­di­vid­u­als to show­case prod­uct su­pe­ri­or­ity in­ter­est­ingly.”

BIKRAM BINDRA

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