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Car makers take recovery road to big-bang advertising

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Car makers take recovery road to big-bang advertising

Top carmakers Maruti Suzuki India, Hyundai, and Honda posted growths in domestic sales last month, signaling a revival in the automobile market that has been under a prolonged slump.

The persistent poor performance of the auto sector last year had impacted their ad spends, with several companies spending conservatively on TV. The forecast for this had been subdued too. However, GroupM recently revised their estimated TV ad spends from 12 to 14.8 per cent this year. One of the growth drivers is the automotive sector, which has had a slew of launches during the first eight months of the year.

exchange4media list out the tops five launches that created a buzz across all advertising platforms.

Honda Mobilio: Even though the digital-first ad launch, that saw Kapil Sharma selling the car, created a well-deserved buzz ahead of the launch, the TVC grabbed quite a few eyeballs all for the wrong reasons. Honda built up the excitement and even opened up bookings well ahead of the launch. The strategy worked and the company pre-booked over 10,000 cars. After the Kapil Sharma ad, one expected Honda to come up with something bigger and better. Instead, the brand threw in a shocker with one of the least appealing TVCs ever. Though the model spoke for itself, many bloggers felt the brand should rather have gone for an out-and-out hard selling TVC for the potentially best-selling model.

Watch the TVC here:

Volkswagen: Like all Volkswagen TVCs, this one too needed to be endearing and simple, yet entertaining at the same time. Taking forward the thought of 'Feels that good', the film illustrates the story of two brothers. The younger of the two always gets the raw end of the stick, as he ends up with all the ‘hand-me-downs’ from his cooler older sibling. From school books to uniforms to shoes and even bicycles, it's always second-hand. Ultimately, the story takes a big turn. The younger brother, now all grown up, comes into his own when we see him driving the sparkling New Polo, while his older sibling is still using a nondescript old car. The ad tugged at many heartstrings and did quite a few rounds on social platforms.

The 360-degree campaign, with activities across all touch-points, was developed to reach the target audience.

Watch the TVC here:

Punto: Fiat Punto's new Evo recently got a face-lift, and so did its ad campaign. Only, unlike the car, the TVC took a dive for the worst. The ad was meant to reinstate Punto Evo's strengths,  promote all the new additions, and ensure that the car is a part of Fiat’s overall brand positioning of ‘Hello Life’. The ad film starts off contrasting ‘great’ life situations, with what could make them ‘interesting’. The film shows young, urban protagonists, accompanied by corresponding visuals, a voiceover explains that while a black suit is great, a yellow tie is interesting. While coffees are great, cappuccinos are presented as interesting. While the brand attempts to make things 'interesting' for its buyers, industry experts felt it’s trying too hard. [read full ad review—New Punto Evo campaign: Life refreshed]

Watch the TVC here:

Hyundai i20: Hyundai has rolled out the latest variant of its hatchback i20, labelled Elite i20. In an attempt to stand out in the crowd, i20 had positioned itself as an offering for the discerning youngsters who look at a drive that has tech and styling rolled into one. To achieve this, the agency put together a large format launch campaign that looked at capturing the car's styling, performance and newness along with an ‘Elite’ user imagery in a Hollywood style action thriller. “This launch campaign is not about a TVC rather it’s a ‘cinemercial’ with a large dose of attitude which is sure to create buzz,” a company statement said.

Whether the campaign will lead to a rise in sales and increased consumer interest is yet to be seen. But the attempt to make it big sure is working. Hyundai claims that its dealerships have reported a major spike in enquiries.

Watch the TVC here:

Tata Zest: The latest addition to the block is Tata’s Zest. On the day of the launch, this one created a buzz with its Times of India front page ‘key’ invites to readers, inviting them 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’. Through the day, tweets and posts kept buzzing all over social platforms. Even as this campaign has created its fair share of excitement, it remains to be seen how Tata Motors changes its brand perception with new products.

This is just the start, with the festive season expected to see more launches in the sector. Maruti Suzuki's Ciaz, Fiat's Avventura crossover, BMW's X3, are just some of them. Big spends on advertising will follow, but how that will impact sales remains to be seen .

Tags Maruti Suzuki i20 Honda Mobilio Volkswagen Polo Tata Zest Fiat Punto

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