Just a few days back, we reported about Bajaj Auto Limited deciding to take arch rival Hero Motocorp head on with one of its latest ad campaign for Discover 125. In Europe and America, its common to see automakers gunning for each others’ heads with ads which have direct / indirect references to rival products. Be it Nissan mocking Ford engineers in Brazil, Audi mocking BMW for always being second in shootouts or BMW using Japanese art forms to depict the superiority of the S1000RR over all the Japanese bikes – the corporates from the Western world love bringing their mutual melee out in the open, entertaining the audiences liberally in the process. Now Bajaj Auto seems to be making a few clarifications about this latest ad campaign.
Bajaj Auto Managing Director, Mr. Rajiv Bajaj has said, “Our campaign is based on a consumer research interpretation and has nothing to do with taking on Hero.”
However, comments on this ad campaign sound very different in nature to what Bajaj’s MD recently said.
Prathap Suthan, chief creative officer of iYogi, a global remote tech support company says, “Now Hero is without the safety helmet of Honda. So it is the best time for Bajaj to inflict maximum damage on the leader that is weak and vulnerable.”
Readers would remember that even Mahindra two wheelers did something similar with their first ad for the Stallio, where Aamir Khan made references to the Karizma by using phrases like ‘Toofan se topi laati hai kya’. That the product wasn’t good enough, and mahindra ended up making a mockery of itself in the end is a different story altogether. With the newDiscover ad, Bajaj Auto seems to be making indirect references to the (Super) Splendor and Passion, the two competitors of the Discover. The ad asserts that the Bajaj product has better acceleration and power than the corresponding Hero Motocorp products. The owners of the vehicles admit that they’re riding compromised vehicles, but have learned how to live with the sad situation. It’s all been portrayed in a very interesting (and annoying for Hero Motocorp) manner.
“As part of an internal discussion, we felt that if you are not a leader, position yourself and re-position the leader by projecting yourself as the opposite of a leader… that’s what we are doing,” says Bajaj.
Mr. Saurabh Uboweja, director of brand consulting firm Brands of Desire says, “For the first time in a decade, Bajaj is sniffing an opportunity to challenge the numero uno. By projecting buyers of Hero bikes as meek and compromising, Bajaj is also highlighting the weaknesses of Hero MotoCorp’s withdrawal of Honda and its tech platform.”
It may be noted that Hero MotoCorp is silently witnessing all this. Is this the silence that precedes a storm?