I usually don’t pay much attention to car and bike ads, primarily because I am not their target audience, at least for now, and from a brand pov because, they will either show me ads, attitude or stunts (though i liked the most recent Pulsar ad, the music mostly 😉 ) I really can’t blame them, they are dead if they do, and killed if they don’t.
But I recently caught the Mahindra Logan ad because I thought Kunal Kapoor wore the same clothes (in one shot) he did in the Indian Terrain print ads. :p So i watched to make sure, though I haven’t figured it out yet. And I wasn’t paying attention to the ad content, but I watched it again thanks to a very thought provoking comment on another ad from the same category (cars). That was the Tata Indigo CS ad. I had caught that earlier thanks to its manic frequency and some nice music. We’ll talk about the comment in a while.
Kunal Kapoor, in the Logan ad, wonders and questions the same rat race we are all participating in, our fear that keeps us from thinking differently, says how style can’t be achieved by showing off, and how one should think different from the herd. Mahindra Logan is more than ‘dikhava’ and apparently ‘the answer is here’. (Er, answer to what? the only question i heard was ‘why?’ ) :p That would come under the attitude + style category, but quite a ‘straight’ take.
The Indigo ad was one that a lot of working pros could identify with. It shows an employess whose boss doesn’t miss a single chance to bully him – whether its opening his cabin’s shades just as the employee is about to take a break or showing off a better pen, or a tea set, or coming to his cubicle when he’s about to call his girlfriend/wife or any of the little things, that the ad uses to tell a real and believable story. The twist is in the parking lot, where the employee takes out his absolutely different car from among the regular cars around, while his boss is caught admiring the car, and then burning with envy while he drives off. The punch line- ‘at the end of the day, style does matter’. A ‘style’ ad that is treated with humour. The punch line for me came from the wife, who pointed out that while the employee can drive home in that cool car, the next morning after he drives to work, he’ll still have to work under the same boss, and take the same crap.
Now, i’m not sure if many people would think that way, but if they did, it would be very sorry for the brand, because would consumers want to be associated with the kind of servile attitude that the employee projects during most of the ad, and then relies on his car to go one up on his boss? Especially if the target audience is a no-nonsense generation that has confidence in its own abilities?
For me, the lesson was that no humour ad can be consumer-proof. There’ll always be a smart alec around who will twist your communication 😐
until next time, with consumers like these, who needs competitors?