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Stretch Marketing: Challenge of standing out in the crowd

27-September-2004
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Stretch Marketing: Challenge of standing out in the crowd

Even as Tata Motors is drawing up an integrated marketing plan to promote its SUV model Tata Safari, Ford India is sharpening its focus on experiential marketing techniques to popularise its brand Ford Endeavour. Meanwhile, Mahindra & Mahindra is gearing up to roll out a multi-media campaign to promote its SUV model Scorpio. In essence, Indian auto majors are now stepping on the gas with renewed marketing plans to woo prospective SUV buyers across the country. And companies are trying out various marketing and advertising strategies to ensure that they are able to stand out in the crowd.

For starters, Tata Motors is getting ready to roll out an aggressive campaign for Tata Safari in October this year. On the company’s plans, says Tata Motors vice-president (commercial passenger car business unit) Rajiv Dube: “In our forthcoming ad campaigns, our endeavour would be to further strengthen the core brand. Every month, we sell around 250 to 300 units of Safari.”

Created by Ogilvy & Mather India, Tata Safari’s new campaign will include press ads and television commercials. Explains Tata Motors account director Ajay Naqvi: “We will begin with a print campaign in October which will be followed by TVC in November.”

Tata Motors also plans to make Safari a very strong example in 360 advertising by activating the brand at all levels.

Across the road, Ford India plans to lay more emphasis on ‘one-to-one’ marketing and ground promotions to promote its model Endeavour, says Ford India vice-president (sales, marketing & services) Vinay Tiparsania. “With the help of our roadshows in the last few months, we have succeeded in building a good customer data base. We’ll continue to focus on ‘test drives’ and ground promotions to further promote our model,” he adds.

Incidentally, Ford India has started a second shift at its manufacturing base to meet the growing demand for its SUV models. To support its experiential marketing activities, the company plans to use mass media and outdoor media campaigns, in sharp contrast to Tata Safari’s marketing plans.

Yet another major player in the Indian SUV segment, Mahindra & Mahindra is chalking out an integrated marketing package to promote its model Scorpio. Says Interface Communications CEO Niteen Bhagwat (the agency which is handling the ad account of Scorpio since the launch of the model): “We will be rolling out a high-voltage television commercial within a fortnight. The new commercial which is shot in South Africa will strive to strengthen Scorpio’s positioning—‘It’s better than a car—in its communications.”

To stand out in a clutter, the agency’s core strategy will be to build image consistency and offer a visual differentiation in its communication plans, according to Mr Bahgwat. “Our mass media advertising will be supported by test drives and ground promotions,” he adds.

Clearly, a new marketing war is brewing in the SUV segment in India.

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