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Fastrack’s ‘shockvertising’ brings in youth acceptability

31-January-2013
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Fastrack’s ‘shockvertising’ brings in youth acceptability

From the bold and bubbly Genelia and Virat getting cozy in an elevator, a banner ad featuring a topless model with the hard hit message of Don’t Stare at my T_ _ S to a girl sneaking out of a boys’ hostel after a night out and inviting ‘not the squeaky cleans’ in making hell the wildest, coolest party ever, Fastrack has played the smutty card well.

Some believe that the ads are sleazy and vulgar; however, people fail to understand the concept of shock tactics that makes one stop and stare. Riding high on the ‘shockvertising’ strategy, emulating the likes of United Colors of Benetton, the brand has managed to break the social taboos through affordability, design and clever advertising.

Fastrack was launched in 1998 as a sub-brand of Titan. It became an independent entity targeting the urban youth in 2005 with accessories such as bags, belts, eye gear, wallets and wristbands.

Due to a marked shift in the culture and the changing mindscape, ad concepts that were earlier considered as creating a negative image for brands are now accepted by the youth as they are dynamic and believe in the concept of moving on fast.

Fastrack created a lot of buzz when it came up with the billboard roaring the f******k 20% off campaign. ‘Why the world moved on to…’ campaign talked that if one thought everyday inventions such as answering machines, elevators, hand break, etc. were made to lead an easier and safer lifestyle, then one  might just be wrong! Fastrack had its own theory on why the world moved on to various inventions.

The ‘Sweet No More’ campaign brought out the edgy, sexy side of the previously sweet and bubbly Genelia D'souza, the then brand ambassador. The campaign launched a girls’ line of sunglasses through this.

‘Blame Fastrack’ campaign derived its idea from a key consumer insight that the youth today are the most blamed lot for many things they do or don’t. In its attempt to further strengthen its connect with youth, Fastrack offered to redirect that blame on the brand.

Depicting the picture of a topless girl saying ‘Don’t Stare at my T_ _ S’ and some naughty lines like ‘Two Thongs Don't Make A Right’ and ‘Size Does Matter’ made Fastrack an irreverent brand with the boldest messages.

The campaign for tees is among the first in India to build a new brand almost on digital. Fastrack spends huge amounts on the digital platform because when the youth are spending a large amount of time on digital, it is natural for a youth brand to launch its campaign on this medium as it gives the brand instant feedback and an opportunity to tweak things prior to heavier investments on other channels.

Fastrack is essentially one of the first brands that started utilising the untapped power of social media as early as 2007. Today, the brand has more than five million fans on Facebook and more than 13,500 followers on Twitter.

‘Make Hell Cool’ was Fastrack’s take on the Mayan calendar and the end of the world. The campaign invited the youth to join Fastrack in making hell the wildest party ever.

The campaigns have been engaging and are not done just for the purpose of branding but they are transaction-oriented as well. Following a simple and conventional strategy would not have worked for the brand because the youth, which is the target audience, believes in change. Hence, what seems vulgar to some might actually be the best and the most creative strategy for the brand. However, till when can Fastrack play the ‘sexy’ positioning remains a big question. Till then, Mission Accomplished!

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