Fiat India is reworking its advertising strategy through a new set of commercials as the company has decided to change its track from high-decibel celebrity endorsements in the past.
"Our new ads will be based on third party endorsements of our cars. We will have our customers talking about their experience with the cars in these ads," said Mr Ravi Bharadwaj, Director Commercial of Fiat India Pvt Ltd.
The new ads will be released this month, Mr Bharadwaj told Business Line here.
He said Fiat India is increasing its spending on advertisements this year, but refused to disclose more details. "We will be number four or five among automobile companies in terms of adspend this year," he said.
Fiat will also have new ads for the Petra midsize car, which so far had a low-key, below-the-line campaigning. To begin with, Fiat will roll out print ads for the car.
Earlier, when Fiat launched the Palio compact car in India, the company roped in cricketer Sachin Tendulkar to endorse the product. Sales of Palio fell after news broke that the parent company in Italy was in financial trouble.
Fiat also had to grapple with the perception that Palio was not fuel-efficient vis-à-vis other cars in the `B' segment, such as the Hyundai Santro and Maruti Zen.
As part of efforts to prop up its sales, Fiat India has consolidated its product portfolio and recently launched a diesel version of its midsize car Petra. Now the company sells the Palio and Petra models in India in both petrol and diesel versions, while the Adventure station wagon is available on order only.
To dispel this perception of low fuel efficiency of Palio, Fiat launched a new version - Palio nv - and backed it up with commercials which stressed on the car's fuel efficiency. Currently the company is airing ads that centre on the car's image and looks.
"In the first four months (of Palio nv launch) we focussed on the fuel efficiency of the car. Then we looked beyond this aspect at the looks of the car. Now that these messages have been put across, we are going in for the new campaign," Mr Bharadwaj said.
Fiat India is also sprucing up its showrooms and after-sale service centres across the country. To begin with, the company will bring about uniformity among its showrooms in metros, in terms of looks and layouts.
The company is also implementing a customer relationship management (CRM) system to network its service stations and dealers. "We are introducing a toll-free number through which our customers can get any of their queries on their vehicles and after-sale service answered," Mr Bharadwaj said.
He said Fiat India is waiting for the approval of a blueprint it has submitted to the headquarters regarding future launches. The company is considering the Panda compact and new version of Palio for India.