Tata Motors turns the 'key' to success with Zest print ad

The much-awaited launch of the group's compact sedan came with an innovative front-page ad in the Times of India featuring a bar-coded key for test driving

e4m by Collin Furtado
Updated: Aug 27, 2014 8:02 AM
Tata Motors turns the 'key' to success with Zest print ad

Readers of the Times of India woke up on Tuesday morning to an innovative ad by Tata Motors, unveiling their latest and much-hyped offering, Zest. The front page of all editions of the national daily carried a representational key, inviting readers to test drive the car at the nearest showroom. The tag line, along with the company logo said: ‘Your Key To Drive Home The New Zest’.

Adding heft to the ad was a bunch of reviews from various auto magazines and an accompanying message. ‘The Experts have driven it. Now it’s your turn. Take this key to your nearest Tata Motors showroom, test drive the Zest and you could drive one home’. Each key has been assigned a bar code, which the consumer will have to present at the  showroom. His details will be registered for a chance to win a base model of the car. The front pager was followed by three full-page ads inside for the car.
There is a lot riding on the Zest for the company that has always struggled in the sedan segment. The feature-rich compact sedan comes four years after Aria and is attractively priced to take on Maruti Swift Dzire, Honda's Amaze and Hyundai's Accent. Plagued by issues of poor quality and an overall negative consumer sentiment, Tata Motors hopes to change its brand perception by aggressively focusing on new products and bettering service. 

Going by Tuesday's innovation, the company seems all set to grab eyeballs with its communication. While the car has been generating mostly positive reviews from Autocar, MotorBeam.com,  TopGear India, Gaadi.com, ZigWheels, CarDekho, The Financial Express, Overdrive, Deccan Chronicle, Yahoo india, NDTV, Autoportal, CarBlogIndia and Malayala Manorama, the campaign too had social media sit up and take note.

Through the day, tweets and posts kept the brand buzzing. Netizens lauded both the idea and the execution of the ad, with some even tweeting about the test drive experience that was handled well by the showroom staff.

Neither Times of India, nor Tata Motors were available for comment.

Tuesday's innovation recalls Volkswagen's September 11, 2012 ad in the Times of India. The headline said: 'Feel the shiver of Excitement' and a small pulsating device with a basic light detecting resister was connected to a buzzer. The device was powered by two 1.5 bolt batteries. The moment the reader unfolded the newspaper, the page started to vibrate. The idea was to excite the reader into test driving the Vento and Polo models of the auto major. The ad did create a sensation, but of a slightly different kind. The police were inundated with phone calls from worried readers who thought there was some sort of an explosive device attached to their morning papers. This innovation had been preceded by another ad that had a pre-recorded voice talking about the features of the cars. 

Tata Motors did have a tough act to follow. And going by the reactions that kept trickling in all day, the auto manufacturer did manage to generate the right kind of noise, even without a buzzer or a recorded voice. 

It now remains to be seen if all the excitement generated on social media and the bar-coded keys that have been handed out, translates into the much needed numbers for the company.

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