The Auto Expo 2012 kicked off with the theme “mobility for all”, with special emphasis on the safety and need of environment friendly fuels/vehicles, technological advancements and innovative designs. Away from the broader theme of the Expo, another theme for marketers was seen, and that was ‘target the youth’. From Mercedes Benz to Maruti Suzuki, brands looked to cater to the youth at the Expo.
Mercedes launched a new initiative called ‘mb inspired’. The initiative looks at targeting the youth of the nation with the launch of new cars for their new target audience. The tagline, 'mb feel it' explains the new thought and calls the youth to come experience the new launches. For the initiative Mercedes Benz has brought in Farhan Akhtar, Chetan Bhagat, Irfan Pathan and Masaba Gupta as 'reflections of the brand'.
Commenting on the new initiative, Debashis Mitra, director, sales and marketing, member of the board of management, Mercedes Benz India said, "Through the initiative we wanted to communicate that we're going to grow by many folds in the near future by targetting the youth. We needed to target the youngsters as the average age of the consumers in India is lesser than Japan and China. Our initiative 'mb inspired' talks about the new design language of Mercedes. We wanted to get in faces of the youth to just talk to the youth and that's why we brought in the four 'reflections'. The four of them are not brand ambassadors, they are a face for Mercedes for the youth."
Other players in the industry, Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai Motor India had digital campaigns with a high presence in social media in an effort to connect with the youth at the Expo.
Hyundai's zone at the Auto Expo 2012 gave visitors an interactive experience in digital media. The stalls at the zone enabled visitors to update his/her wall with posts and pictures on a real time basis on their Facebook and email IDs using RFID cards. Once a user of the RFID card would like a car at the Expo, a link would appear on his Facebook page along with the Indian TVC and a note about the car.
Commenting on this Arvind Saxena, director and board member, marketing and sales said, "We have been very active on social media because we have seen a trend of younger car consumers in the country. So we extended that to our stall this time. The social media platform is a language that youngsters understand today and they are more vocal about their likes and dislikes. This gives like minded people a good feedback on our products."
Maruti Suzuki too had digitalied their stall at the Expo. Visitors could give their approval of a Maruti product at the venue by placing their thumb over a pillar placed next to the car, which would link to the users Facebook page, and generate a like on their profile for the car.