DO INDIAN CAR ADS NEED TO BE MORE REALISTIC?
Yes, they do. As most car ads that you see in the electronic media have a slant towards those usages that you may once in a blue moon put your car to. And it could be in the range of 20-25% of your total car usage time. Something, like going on a quiet cross country drive or driving intercity, excessive speeding like a mad man, showing off etc. etc.
Yet most car ads repeat, the same stale brawny messages of excessive speeding, high horse power availability, zipping speed and pick up from- 0 to 60 km in 5-6 seconds. When these should just be left as specs and features, since most cars in the same class, have it all. And not to forget the risky car acrobats; as seen in some ads. The one I readily remember is a Maruti Swift ad, which cannot be performed on Indian roads and are risky for most people who drive these cars. As many may not even have the real sense of an impact, in case of an accident; and one in a million time, your life saving gadgets may not even operate. As it happened in the best of brands like the Toyota Fortuner, where the court has awarded a huge compensation for an accident in U.P..
There are however some ads that stand closer to reality such as SUVs negotiating rough terrains, going cross-country on a holiday, features like comfortable leg-room, plush interiors, turning radius, ramp angle, mileage- kitna deti hai and so on.
WE NOW REQUIRE A NEW AD PARADIGM
But advertisers should now sensitize themselves to one basic fact. Majority of car sales happen in the metros which have huge traffic jams, with very low average speed; and where high speed or high horse power is of less consequence. Rather the irony is, most of the times in busy streets bikes and scooters overtake you and sometimes even a bicycle. And, perhaps you are too sheepish about that rogue auto-rickshaw that tends to push you off the track, for a dent in your car may cost you precious time, boss’s irritation and money; but for him only a hammer technology. And the Mary’s little lamb, the cycle rickshaw that might deliver a deep scar with its jutting-out axle. So then what should a car ad convey is the big question?
MARRY CAR AND CAREER
Car and career is now a necessity for the working class in India. About 60-70 percent of the times, when we drive our car, it is for going to work. India thinks in cars. Many important decisions of our lives and career are taken while we drive. It is the second most expensive purchase after a house. So tweak the focus of car ads to be more holistic, realistic, contemporary, and in Indian conditions. As I should not be reminded of abroad while seeing and Indian car ad; and I have some suggestions in this regard:
- Talk more of the speeding dangers than speeding excitements.
- Teach the art of patience: Peacefully waiting in traffic jams and signals.
- How to avoid road rage. How to keep cool: Deep breathing
- How to manage scratches: Can we develop stickers that protect our vehicles from minor scratches and rub-offs of two wheelers and fellow cars that often lead to road rage
- Change Indian myth of masculinity: Speeding to safe driving tips.
- Can we integrate a bit of our office or personal life into the driving time.
- Apart from music can we have a gadget that can download thoughts, reminders while driving, send some voice mails along with some robotic operations.
- Remove generic technical myths about car technology.
- We sit in the car for long durations. How does it affect our health in terms of orthopaedics, muscles or even our eye-sight.
- At what speed can we take potholes without damaging the car.
- At what speed can we cross a flooded street without the car stalling to improve on traffic jams in monsoon.
- Security net and connect-GPS.
- Driving tips for improving mileage.
- Talk about pedestrian rights.
- Professional tips for a professional drivers. Something like how to handle kids?
- Routine maintenance- many owners and drivers don’t even read the manuals.
- Explain new technology in layman’s language.