People are known more for what they do than who they are.
It is a delicacy to free a brand’s communication from an already overcrowded space that has seen brands use film personalities to well known TV faces to celebrity child artistes to sell to the end users. Mahindra XYLO is not alone; even Mitsubishi has launched its SUV- Outlander with an ad campaign featuring fashion designer Rohit Bal. The commercial shows Rohit being inspired by the Outlander 2010 and launching a fashion line titled Outlander Signature Collection, unveiled next to the SUV at a fashion show.
While professionals who have excelled in their respective area have been used by brands—for example Kiran Bedi or even Chef Sanjeev Kapur; marketers at both Mahindra and Mitsubishi say using unexposed famous professionals help break the clutter. If the positioning of the brand is very clear, this strategy will craft wonder. The Outlander has been positioned as a luxury car with a competitive price and the emphasis is on fashion and style. They looked-for someone from the fashion industry who is wedded to Indian proclivities with international standards. Hence, Rohit Bal was the obvious answer. For a person from a tier II city, which is a burgeoning market for both, passenger cars as well as SUVs, Rohit would be just another model endorsing a car brand- which still wishes for the SUV brand.
The benefit of using unexposed professionals is that there is no danger of the brand ambassador overpowering the brand. In the case of Mahindra XYLO, the emphasis is rested on space and comfort; the attempt was to present XYLO in a fresh commercial retaining its brand values. Most of the celebs are over exposed and XYLO will lose its credibility if they use a celebrity. A specific strategy is taken to promote the XYLO as a spacious and comfortable car. All they wanted is someone really tall for the ad—either supermodels or basketball players. Therefore, Atul Kasbekar who is 6 ’3 ’’ is the right pick. However, Mahindra XYLO didn’t depend on just above the line to push the campaign. A week prior to the release of the commercial, Mahindra ran a competition on Twitter asking people to guess the brand from the stills posted online. Approximately, there were 7000 hits on the first day of the online contest, including a comment from the living legend, Sachin Tendulkar.
In such campaigns, aspiration of the creators are more vital than the ad or the creatives itself. Moreover, it stands out in the clutter because they try to compete with a very low brink of quality. Celebrities are usually cast for the entertainment value… the proof will lie in the responses that the brands get on the floor. Both Mitsubishi and Mahindra claim their respective campaigns have received positive feedback. We need to wait and watch if the promise of these professionals will help these brands drive smoothly on a road seldom taken.