New car launches to gear up ad industry

Written by Malabika Sarkar | Malabika Sarkar | New Delhi | Updated: Jun 21 2009, 05:44am hrs
The Indian advertising industry, which has seen a steady slide in earnings since the beginning of the year, is expected to get a leg-up during the May-July period. This is because the automobile sector has begun to loosen its purse strings. Maruti Suzuki India (MSI), Honda Siel Cars India and Fiat India are expected to spend close to Rs 50 crore during the period to push their new small carsRitz, Jazz and Grande Puntolaunched in the past three weeks. The amount equals mobile service provider Aircels ad spends last year and it is the sum Canon plans to shell out for ads in 2009. The advertising industry in the country generated Rs 22,683-crore revenue in 2008 (GroupM data).

Traditionally, passenger vehicle advertising peaks in the July-September quarter. And this year, after a rather slow start, the passenger car market seems to be coming back on track, bringing some cheer for the advertising industry honchos.

According to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, domestic passenger car sales in May went up to 1,13,490 units, from 1,10,745 units in the same period last year.

Maruti, which has consistently retained its position among the top three advertisers in the category, has a high voltage campaign lined up for its compact hatchback Ritz, which will sport the tagline Live The Moment. The company plans to spend close to Rs 15 crore in the first three months (May-July). The first three months will be crucial in creating a strong positioning for the brand, says Shashank Srivastava, chief general manager (marketing) of the Indian car major. Dentsu, which is handling the advertising duties for Ritz, is looking at print, television and the digital media to create a buzz around the brand.

Honda has drawn up similar plans for its premium hatchback Jazz, the only small car model from the auto major in India. It is available in three variants and is priced between Rs 6.8 lakh and Rs 7.33 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).

The advertising agency for Jazz is Meridian, the second agency of Ogilvy & Mather India. For the first three month, the company plans to spend around Rs 18-20 crore in mass advertising, which will revolve around the proposition A lot of inquiries and test drive requests are pouring in already, says a company spokesperson.

The agency plans to launch a 360-degree campaign for the brand, straddling television, print, hoardings and online media. Honda has pegged its ad budget for 2009 at Rs 25 crore.

Similarly, a lot rides on the Grande Punto, one of the most awaited launches from the Italian auto major Fiat. Bates 141, its advertising agency, has roped in Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh to get its message, A Bold New Drive, to a young audience. The agency has worked out a series of below-the-line and above-the-line activities for the brand, says a company spokesperson. The TVC would go on air from June 25. The company puts the launch budget at Rs 12-15 crore. Priced between Rs 3,90,000 and Rs 4,80,000 for the petrol version and between Rs 4,65,000 and Rs 4,99,000 for the diesel one (Delhi ex-showroom), Ritz is Indias first BS-4 compliant car.

While Marutis Srivastava should be happy as Ritz got off to a good start, selling 8,600 units. In terms of seconds consumed on television, the company was at number three last year, with 14% share. According to industry estimates, last year Maruti spent a whopping Rs 250 crore in print and television alone. The top two were Tata Motors with 27% share, followed by Hyundai Motors India with 17% (Source, TAM AdEx).

While Fiat hopes to sell an average of 2,000-2,500 units of Grande Punto every month, analysts say this may be just the beginning of an uptick in the advertising market.