Tata Nano: Changing gears

Written by Anushree Bhattacharyya | Updated: Sep 10 2013, 15:33pm hrs
Tata Nano
From model Sarah Jane Dias to popular fashion designer Masaba Gupta to magician Ugesh Sarcar, the latest campaign of Tata Nano features some of the well-known faces of urban India. Now rewind to 2010, when Tata Motors launched its debut ad campaign for Nano based on the theme Bringing home khushiyan. Shot in the heritage town of Paragpur in Himachal Pradesh, the ad depicted the joy surrounding the arrival of the Nano. The ad ended with a little girl putting a streak of her kajal onto the car to ward off the evil eye. Three more ads were launched each featuring a couple who conveyed the advantages of driving a car, including privacy, enjoyment and convenience.

At the time of its debut, Nano was targeted at first-time car buyers, mainly people who found migrating from a motorcycle/ scooter to a four-wheeler beyond their budget or those who had never owned a vehicle. The launch campaign too was targetted at consumers living in tier 2 and tier 3 cities. However, since then much has changed and this is clearly visible in the latest campaign.

After it was launched, Nano was interpreted by different people in different ways. While for some consumers it was their vehicle (Tata Nano was their first vehicle), another set of consumers upgraded from a two-wheeler to a four-wheeler with the Nano and thirdly, the car was also purchased by people who already owned a four-wheeler. So the old strategy as per which the brand was defined by the company as per our perspective was not working in Nanos favour, said Delna Avari, head-marketing communications, passenger vehicle business unit, Tata Motors.

The auto company claims that over 2,35,000 units of Nano have been sold. Of this, about 50% have been sold to consumers as their second or third car, while 25% of the Nano buyers are those who have migrated from a two-wheeler to a Nano. The remaining 25% have gone to first-time buyers, says the company.

Sam Ahmed, vice-chairman and chief creative officer, Rediffusion-Y&R, who is the brain behind the latest campaign, says, Nano is a lot more than a car. It is an epic brand. It is the symbol of modern day India. The car was born from a brave attitude. So, for me, Nano is the poster child of awesomeness. The execution had to match the brand personality. Awesomeness had to match Awesomeness.

And so came the campaign titled Celebrate awesomeness. With a peppy soundtrack, the commercial showcases various shades of Nano as well as its consumers. The film ends with the

supers Celebrate youness, Celebrate kickassness, Celebrate epicness, Celebrate magicness, Celebrate


Interestingly, 40% of consumers of Tata Nano are less than 35 years of age, says the company. The ad speaks in the language of the youth. The way they consume information has changed, so we too should change the way we talk to them. Instead of selling them something, we chose to tell them something. So, the new campaign celebrates the unique Nano attitude of doing things in a bigger and a newer way, adds Ahmed.

Nabankur Gupta, founder and CEO, Nobby Brand Architects and Strategic Marketing Consultants says that after many hits and misses in its communication, Tata Motors finally seems to have a strategy with the new campaign. The current campaign serves a dual purpose. First, with the new campaign Tata Motors has expanded its consumer base. It is now targeting the youth as buying power is shifting. Also, the new communication has helped the company in segmenting the product effectively. For example, the models Nano LX and CX that come with many features such as heater, front power windows etc is now being sold to urban consumers while the stripped-down version is being made available to consumers residing in semi-urban/rural towns, added Gupta.

And the story just doesnt end here. The television ad is just the curtain raiser, as the company will be rolling an on-ground activation and digital campaign. The television ad has generated about 5 million views on YouTube so far. I felt we were playing someone elses game. We had to find our own playing field and play our own game. What the public has seen so far is just the tip of the iceberg. This is a springboard for several other elements that will follow in the next few weeks, added Ahmed. The company is on the lookout to associate with events that are in sync with the brand ethos of Nano. Nano had recently tied up with Lakme Fashion Week as its official vehicle partner.

However, Jagdeep Kapoor, chairman and managing director, Samsika Marketing Consultants, is of the opinion that the company has missed the bus. In Nanos case, I would say it has missed the car. With so many changes in communication, the brand has confused the consumer. And when the consumer is confused, the general tendency is to refuse the brand. Tata Motors need to find a new platform or launch Nano in a new avatar to get the ball rolling, said Kapoor.