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Automobile brands fostering telly associations for wider reach

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Automobile brands fostering telly associations for wider reach

The number of automobile brands banking on television properties to connect with their target better is increasing. Latest to join the league are ESPN Scorpio Speedster and MTV Hero Honda Roadies. Though the genre can be anything – from sports to music – a closer look at the scene indicates that brands and brand custodians are satisfied with the association.

In the case of MTV Roadies, where the participants use the Hero Honda bikes, the brand benefits not just on the on-ground visibility count but also on-air. However, with ESPN Speedster, which is a nationwide hunt for the fastest bowler, this isn’t the case, as the initiative doesn’t translate into a big television property. Apart from the spots channel announcing the hunt for a fast bowler and 30 to 60-second vignettes, there is only a half-hour post-event capsule that is produced to be aired on ESPN.

But Mahindra and Mahindra officials explain that the exercise proved to be a perfect platform to connect with their target and hence the brand decided to associate with it for two years in a row. Sharing more on this, Anand Mahindra, Vice Chairman and MD, Mahindra and Mahindra explains, “Not only is the Scorpio Speedster hunt is consistent with our brand positioning but it also reflects our values of leadership and good corporate response.”

Adding to that, an official spokesperson elucidates, “In the event last year, the turnout of youngsters was in thousands. Getting them directly is difficult and this hunt provided the perfect platform for us. It has enhanced the brand attributes and made a stronger mark with our target, which is what we expect with the association this year as well.”

Giving an overall view of such associations, Bashab Dutta Choudhary, General Manager, Madison Media, says, “There are two kinds of opportunities that brands can utilise. One is when something is promoted heavily and the brand rides on it and the second is a property that accentuates brand attributes. What we are seeing with the automobile segment in these examples is the latter.”

“This is a perfect way to get the consumer connect,” remarks Sanjoy Chakraborty, National Director, Investment, GroupM, “What the brand gets here is the multiplier effect. Even in the case of ESPN Speedster, where the television property is not very strong, there still is some on-air mileage that it is getting and that makes a difference. As for Roadies, the Hero Honda bikes are everywhere, so the association is perfect.”

Explaining some more on that, Choudhary brings forth the difference in the examples, “For Scorpio, it is largely the brand attribute. By associating with sports that Scorpio attribute is shown in positive connotation and the activity helps the consumer to internalise the message well. However, with Hero Honda, it is more of a product attribute. The show is about two wheelers. It shows sturdy bikes and then points like covering 2000 miles etc make the product a hero.” She explains that these associations only point out the various ways in which a brand can reach its target, “It is important to undertake such exercises because you have to come up with varied ways to get to your target at a direct level.”

But at the same time, Chakraborty explains that even where brands experiment with activities like these, they are often careful that they take tested routes only. “There is no tested formula per se here but if the property doesn’t click, you can have a negative rub off. It is important to be careful but yes, in most cases, you have a winner at hand,” he says.


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Prior to joining Madison PR in 2012 Chaudhary was Group President Corporate Communications at Reliance Industries Limited.