Nexa, the sales channel for Maruti Suzuki’s premium cars in India, has rolled out its latest offering, the Ignis. The car, which was launched on 13 January, has received close to 8,500 bookings (as of 16 January).
The Ignis has differentiations both under the hood and from the exterior from previous launches from the Maruti, but the major differentiation here is the target audience, reveals Vinay Pant, AVP-marketing, Maruti Suzuki, in a conversation with Campaign India. And that’s seen with the approach the company has taken in reaching out to them with the help of its agency, Hakuhodo Percept.
Pant explains, “For the first time, we are targeting a first-time car buyer, from a household that already owns a car. That’s not been our audience or concern when we market the Alto and others. With the Ignis, it’s about changing the perception of the company.”
The perception Pant mentions is of Maruti not being a favourable brand among youth in families that have owned cars before. He says, “The general feeling is that our cars are not picked because the youth don’t want something that their dad is driving. So, our target with this, like all others under the Nexa banner is about the imagery going up. We want to change perceptions.”
He adds, “In the car buying universe, the contribution of car owners under 29 was 15 to 16 percent about eight years ago. Now it’s around 27 per cent. So, more than a quarter of car buyers are coming from this segment, and it’s only growing. This generation wants to stand-out and that’s what we embarked on for them. Firstly, we needed it to be eye-catching. This generation wants to stand out, and they want their car to stand out too.”
‘Unconventional, but sensible’
That was the phrase kept in mind when it came to the design, Pant said. So, while the car was designed to stand-out, space is something the sensible car buyer requires and like many of the hatchbacks in the category, the Ignis too has factored in space.
“The average height of the average Indian is increasing too. One needs to sit in the car to realise how spacious it is. While, they’re not going to use this car to travel with their family, they will yet have 4-5 people travel with them, as they look to move around with their group of friends,” says Pant.
Since, the TG is car buyers coming from households that have cars, with some having experienced their parents’ premium cars, features were something that couldn’t be compromised informed Pant.
He explains, “Most of these guys have smart-phones, and compatibility with them is required in cars. We have an integrated dash which reminds one of a tablet. We are introducing Google’s Android Auto for the first time in India, and is available in the top-end variant.”
As the TG wants to be different, the brand is offering people to differentiate one Ignis from another through different accessories, says Pant. He adds, “We have smart and confident people who look to differentiate themselves with hairstyles, beards etc. Similarly, we have accessories that would provide that differentiation. One could colour coordinate the interiors with the exterior and other stuff like that. We’re seeing the youth experiment with mobile phones covers etc, and kept that in mind. We have tried to talk to them in the language they understand.”
The launch featuring Axwell was a result of research that revealed that while hobbies were diverse and more than one, music was a binding factor. And within music, it was EDM that stood out informed Pant.
He explained, “Therefore the launch happened through the EDM concert. People went to our website to book tickets, and collected them at our showrooms. That was the intent. We will continue doing these concerts. We need to reinvent because that’s what this TG is about. There are ample opportunities today to reinvent too. So we’ll be continuing that route.”
While pre-launch buzz was created through such tie-ups, traditional marketing is also a part of the mix for the Ignis.
A TVC was released on 13 January that showcases the car in different angles. The similar idea has been taken to outdoor too, where the brand wants to showcase the car using four-five angles, versus the regular two angles informs Pant.
On the creative, Sabuj Sengupta, NCD, Hakuhodo Percept, says, “We evolved the brief together. It wasn’t a straight-forward campaign. When we saw the product, we thought of being unconventional. Fundamentally, we are not trying to sell the car, but sell an attitude. We want people who drive the car to be different. Today, the millennials want to be different when it comes to clothes, watches etc. So we got it to the car too. That was the starting point.”
He adds, “The whole journey was about being unique and unconventional. We started off on 15 December through a music video. It was an invite to register for the concert. We wanted people to enjoy the concert. All the launches are typically media launches, but we did a concert. We also did an experiment at the launch. We had this ‘Car FX’ at it. It was wired with sensors and one could play music on all the surfaces. Different parts of the car could be touched to provide different music and we saw a lot of interactions here.”
Without revealing numbers, Pant informed that digital spends for this campaign were higher than otherwise.The launch concert was broadcast live on YouTube, Hotstar and VH1 and also streamed live in clubs.