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When Big B and Mahi came together for TVS Motor

Murali Gopalan | Updated on July 30, 2020

Aniruddha Haldar, Vice-President (Marketing), Commuter Motorcycles, Scooters and Corporate Brand, TVS Motor

Brand ambassadors jointly spread the tech message

Both are brand ambassadors for TVS Motor Company and it was for the first time that Amitabh Bachchan and MS Dhoni made a joint appearance for a corporate campaign.

Aniruddha Haldar puts the bonding of the three entities — TVS Motor, Bachchan and Dhoni — in perspective. “Change, evolve, innovate and move forward is the core dimension of a brand like TVS which is able to identify what is innovation for tomorrow,” says the Vice-President (Marketing), Commuter Motorcycles, Scooters and Corporate Brand.

Likewise, continues Haldar, Big B and Mahi (as they are popularly known to their humongous fan base) are individuals in their own right who are not necessarily governed by their fame. On the contrary, he insists, the two of them have evolved and changed with time and in different phases of their lives. In the process, their fan base has grown even further. “TVS Motor, likewise, has evolved with different phases of innovation,” says Haldar.

This is precisely why the company thought it appropriate to have its iconic brand ambassadors come together for the first time to spread an important message. Bharat Stage VI emission norms have been mandatorily in place since April 1, a week after the national lockdown was imposed, and marked an inflection point for TVS Motor on the tech front.

“We went deeper to provide a fuel injection platform,’ says Haldar. The company was only too aware that there were different user categories for its two-wheelers with varied requirements. While some are more conscious of mileage, there are others seeking higher performance.

“We realised that just a single solution would not be the best way to handle the challenge and doubled our efforts. What has now emerged is ETFi (ecothrust fuel injection) and RTFi (race tuned fuel injection),” explains Haldar. It is this dual platform Fi technology that would be the differentiator for the company in the intensely competitive two-wheeler space.

“We wanted to leverage our competencies in technology to provide innovation. We needed to clearly come across as a brand which understands and meets different customer requirements with solutions,” he says. This is where a joint campaign with Big B and Mahi was seen as the right step to take the story forward. There is no question that Covid-19 has pretty much derailed economic growth as the country went into a complete lockdown during April and a substantial part of May. It is only in recent weeks that an unlocking is beginning to happen and two-wheeler manufacturers, in particular, are seeing a massive surge in buying.

“The value we offer with ETFi and RTFi now becomes even more accentuated with the unlocking,” says Haldar. The paranoia of social distancing as well as use of public transport has clearly resulted in customers making a beeline for two-wheelers, which are the best bet in affordability.

“Customers are more value-conscious and demand for two-wheelers will increase with social distancing. And when value is enhanced, it is even better for the buyer in today’s times,” he says. With the dual platform Fi technology in place, it was but logical for TVS Motor’s two brand icons to share the screen together and bring forth the technology narrative. “It was a good fit and we were certain customers would make the connect,” says Haldar. The commercial has been on for some days now and the response is quite overwhelming.

As he adds, the idea was to have these two legends spread the message in a simple and succinct way. Till now, Bachchan has been associated with the company’s Jupiter scooter and Dhoni, who has been around longer, with the StaR City Plus motorcycle.

Bonhomie, spontaneity

Both celebrities doubtless are familiar with each other and, yet, it was interesting to see how they responded to each other on the sets while shooting for the commercial. “It was one of those rare times when we saw two fans meeting two icons…the warmth they displayed was there for all to see. What stood out was the immense amount of respect they displayed for each other,” recalls Haldar. Thanks to this bonhomie, shooting was a cinch with both Big B and Mahi putting each other at ease and the spontaneity came through quite well in the campaign.

As he puts it, Bollywood’s longest ever superstar is larger than life and “an ageless legend”. Mahi, who is perhaps half his age, is all heart and action. He is someone who loves bikes passionately and a style icon who is in a niche of his own. While Big B can quickly set the mood for easy customer bonding, Mahi gets into the product specs and can perceive what is different.

There is yet another facet about India’s Captain Cool which fits in even better as the company’s brand ambassador. One of his favourite bikes is Norton, the British bike brand which TVS has acquired recently. It will be interesting to see if he will be part of the brand association with Norton, going forward, though these are early days yet. While Mahi’s love for bikes is only too well known, Big B “keeps it at a different level”. As Haldar explains, the star has an aura that has been built over time. At 78, he is a “social media giant in his own way”…a passion that that has been built out of interest. To that extent, he is still young at heart with “high energy levels”.

According to Haldar, both icons have the ability to touch every age group in the country and right across its diverse landscape of language, food and culture. “They are true Indian legends. They have their individual styles when it comes to handling their public persona and their own ways to protect their unique identities,” he says. The young team handling the commercial was clearly starstruck seeing these two heavyweights on the sets but the duo ensured that the atmosphere remained hassle-free. “The openness they displayed to feedback was impressive…they showed their class and were not bound by ego while keeping people comfortable,” says Haldar.

TVS Motor will be hoping that the messaging from their two brand ambassadors, coupled with the hard work done by their R&D and engineering teams, will create the right connect in the market. “Aspiration is something that the customer is extremely mindful of. Yesterday is no longer good enough and tomorrow needs to blend with the product,” he says.

To that extent, be it in terms of connectivity or technology, TVS Motor believes it is important to present a brand that is in line with customer aspirations and expectations. “The ability to speak to a customer is where Big B adds value while Mahi represents the passion,” says Haldar.



Published on July 30, 2020

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