Campaign India Team
Jan 23, 2013

‘It’s the Mahindra DNA that’s shown in the ad’

Q&A with Vivek Nayer, CMO, automotive division, Mahindra & Mahindra, on the portfolio film showcasing the company’s utility vehicles

‘It’s the Mahindra DNA that’s shown in the ad’


Mahindra and Mahindra launched a two-minute film two months ago on the digital platform to showcase its portfolio of utility vehicles. Mahindra has now launched a one-minute version of the film for television. Campaign India caught up with Vivek Nayer, chief marketing officer, automotive division, Mahindra & Mahindra, to learn more about the campaign created by Interface Communications, and more.

Why a portfolio campaign now? What is the objective of showcasing the portfolio from brand Mahindra's perspective?

We launched it online about two months ago. We got a terrific response to that, but what we launched online was a longer duration ad (two minute film). For television, we have launched a one minute film. We just thought that the two-minute film was expensive to put on TV. We have a very high reach on the digital platform, with more than seven million fans on Facebook and get excellent response to our videos on YouTube. We have been using YouTube as a platform extensively. We thought it was a big film and using our digital reach first would be a better idea followed by a phased launch on TV.

Does the film do justice to the different brands available within the Mahindra UV portfolio?

Yes, it shows almost the entire portfolio. It’s not just two or three vehicles that are there, but all the main vehicles: the Thar, Bolero, Scorpio and XUV500. It’s basically the Mahindra DNA that is being shown in the ad and four to five of our key vehicles are good enough to portray the Mahindra DNA. It adequately and very emphatically brings out our value proposition. The value proposition is that Mahindra SUVs can bring to consumers an enhanced lifestyle. If they are interested in this lifestyle, Mahindra is for them. Different people have different things to do. Some people are interested in getting out on the weekends with friends and family; for others it’s a drive to Goa. For others it is a lifestyle trip to Ladakh.  Different people have different aspirations. The film shows a reunion going on. Reunions are very popular nowadays and everywhere you go you see them taking place. You keep hearing about a school, college or office reuinion. This is a different kind of reuinion, as all these people are meeting in the hills and they all are reaching that place in Mahindra vehicles. It’s a consumer insight based on reality. And it brings out the rugged DNA of Mahindra.

The spirit of adventure position: how was it arrived at? Was there some research that indicated to the 'getaway' insight?

The positioning is adventure-related but the spirit of the film is identified in that line: ‘Live young, live free’. It’s all about the spirit of adventure and freedom to follow your passion. That’s one of the things that people played back to us: when they follow their passion (of road trips and adventure), they talk about feeling free. In a sense they are getting away from it all and getting an adventure, be it off roading or anything else. It’s almost like a movement, and it’s almost exhorting people to ‘live young, live free’ and saying that’s the way to live life. So it’s very aspirational and the same time it is very relevant as it is based on real consumer insights. We always keep doing research, and one of the things that it has thrown back to us is that there are lot of people out there who want to follow their own passion.For some people it may be photography, for others river rafting. We find that for a huge number of people, it’s about using their SUVs to either go for long road trips or to go out on a weekend with friends and family or people doing this once-in-a-lifetime Ladakh trip. So,there a lot of people who want to live their passion; this film shows that.

What percentage of Mahindra UV buyers would buy it for the off road experience? Is it an aspiration that is manifest in the ad, as against reality, at least for a vast majority?

We don’t have a percentage because people buy a SUV and use it for dual purpose. No one buys it only for off-roading. Many people use the same SUV during the week to get to office and over the weekend use it for something else. That’s what SUVs allow. Cars don’t allow this. SUVs are better suited for rough terrain use. Traditionally in India, the ratio of SUVs to cars has been 15 per cent. In the last one year or so, it has crossed 20 per cent. So the SUV market is growing much faster than the car market in India and that itself gives you a reflection of the consumer trend. People are going to buy SUVs because they enable a certain lifestyle and say something about you. It’s a reflection of your personality. And you’re seeing the changing trend in the numbers.  

The numbers increasing could be a result of the emergence of competitors? How prepared is Mahindra to defend its market share, with the likes of Renault (Duster), Maruti (Ertiga) and Nissan (Evalia) more recently pushing the pedal in the UV segment?

I think it started off with the launch of the XUV500. Fifteen months ago, when we launched, it was the most talked about launch in the auto industry. After that we have recently launched the Quanto, which is also doing extremely well. And there have been other launches, like the Duster. But Mahindra remains the king of SUVs in the market and we have nearly half the market with us. A large part of the onus is because we’ve been driving the change. Competition has increased, which is great because I think it helps change the ratio of SUVs to cars. Mahindra has a large portfolio and I think in the last five to seven years we have come up with a whole portfolio of SUVs. At the top end we have the XUV500, at the entry level we have the Bolero and in between we have the Xylo and Scorpio. Then we also have the Thar and Quanto now. We have a whole range of products. Competition has only come in now, but we have a whole range ofdifferentiated offerings and each of them is a very strong brand. There is hardly any cannibalizing between our cars. So, as a portfolio, we have grown it quite well.  

Is there a significant challenge foreseen in the demand for diesel vehicles with the new legislation on pricing?

We’ll have to wait and watch on this. I think Dr Goenka (Pawan Goenka, president – automotive and farm equipment sectors) has already gone on record saying if the diesel price goes up by upto Rs 5, we don’t see any major impact.

WATCH the one minute film





Also read: Mahindra’s 'Live young, live free' campaign celebrates adventure, showcases UV portfolio

Campaign India