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Jeep turns to Bollywood in its customer-connect drive

Amrita Nair-Ghaswalla | Updated on February 13, 2020 Published on February 13, 2020

Jeep Compass

TV show reliving film locations to reignite brand interest in a tepid market

Every brand has a story to tell. Given that today’s consumers are becoming less susceptible to sales promises and banner advertising, marketeers are striving to invest in a brand’s narrative.

A recent study has also alluded to the fact that by telling their brand story well, companies have the power to increase the value of a product or service by over 20 times.

That is exactly what Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is striving to do for its Jeep brand. “Jeep believes in exploring roads less travelled; so we tend to work on innovative ideas to create an enriching and evocative brand experience,” says Rahul Pansare, Head Marketing, FCA India.

The company decided on a television show — Jeep Bollywood Trails — to channelise the brand’s firepower, passion and energy. The show is a travelogue, redefining India through the Bollywood lens and covering famous locations and landscapes.

Ultimate travel machine

Jeep Bollywood Trails features prominent (Bollywood) directors who narrate their stories through these locations and specify what makes these spots iconic. The show positions the Jeep as the ultimate travel-machine, and is powered by Publicis Media’s Content Practice. Since every place tells a story, the Jeep travelogue features filmmakers such as Imtiaz Ali, Rohit Shetty, Raju Hirani and Nitesh Tiwari, among others, who relive their film experiences. As Pansare says, it enables every viewer to relive the passion and adventure that the stars experience while filming across locations.

Urvashi Khanna, Content Lead at Publicis Media India, says this particular execution goes beyond brand integration. Brand integration, according to her, is about retrofitting a product in a story; it has less or no relevance with the product and is very mechanical.

“When you create branded content, on the other hand, the brand becomes the main character and takes the story forward,” says Khanna. To make a story fit into a product or brand is a creative challenge and an exciting way of “making your brand stand out and provide entertainment to the audiences”.

Cutting through the clutter

In today’s marketing world, there is a dire need for a modern approach and brands have to work harder to cut through the clutter while engaging consumers on a deeper level to foster long-term loyalty. Societal shifts has also got experiential marketing gobbling up a huge share of brand marketing budgets.

Khanna says travelling is one of the key passion points of the target group. “They are believers of adventure and it’s in their DNA to explore. We try and evoke the sense of ‘go anywhere, do anything’ belief,” she says.

Jeep Bollywood Trails has two key passion points of the target group — Bollywood and travel — the amalgamation of which makes it “a unique and exciting” offering. “It’s not a travelogue, it’s a trail about retracing the locations now synonymous with Bollywood mainstream films,” adds Khanna.

“People tend to find out more about these destinations from our films and that is what has made these locations popular,” she says. . Given the growing distrust of corporate messaging and high brand noise in the market, the brand decided on a perfect storm of elements: experiential marketing.A form of advertising where consumers consciously choose to interact with the brand, often identifying themselves as the most valuable target, experiential marketing is voluntary and participatory. Juxtapose this to the traditional marketing techniques which are almost exclusively interruptive and one-way.

Demographics are at play, too: younger demographics tend to prefer experiences over possessions. And they love to share their experiences with others, on social media and elsewhere.

Brand pillars

Khanna says the travelogue is also a creative rendition of the brand pillars — adventure, freedom, passion and authenticity. “Jeep stands for adventure, freedom, passion and authenticity and a combination of these four brand pillars brings out ‘The Spirit of Jeep’. The show is about this spirit,” she adds. On the show, directors talk about the passion of storytelling and why they chose a certain location, while the anchor relives the adventure and magic of these locations. “The format has a local guest who has no relevance with the film but brings authentic nuances of the place alive,” says Khanna. The Jeep SUV makes the travel and exploration possible. While corporates are learning more about their brand fans, they are personalising their journeys of interaction and staying connected. Marketeers are also finding value in designing experiences rather than broadcasting messages — more so when the market is in a downturn.

Published on February 13, 2020
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