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When Platina pitched in during the Kumbh Mela

Amrita Nair-Ghaswalla | Updated on February 14, 2019 Published on February 14, 2019

Retrofitted Bajaj bikes ferried pilgrims amid the chaos

The ongoing Kumbh Mela is the largest congregation in the world held on the banks of the Ganga. However, the veritable melting pot of pilgrims could prove to be a tsunami of chaos for the elderly/disabled and a crowded nightmare for others.

It is here that advertising major Ogilvy, and Bajaj Auto saw an opportunity where the Platina ComforTec 110 motorcycle could make a difference. “We asked the Kumbh authorities how brands could participate and were told transportation and sanitation were some of the major aspects where brands could pitch in,” recalls Sukesh Nayak, Chief Creative Officer, Ogilvy West.

“We then opened the brief to all teams to understand which brand message could fit in. Bajaj Platina had a perfect fit,” he adds. This clearly was an opportunity that could not be passed up. Accordingly, Platina would steer “the largest gathering of people who have one dream of taking a holy dip”. Ogilvy and Bajaj ideated and retrofitted some 40-50 Platinas with custom-designed backrests to support the pillion for added safety.

This backrest was engineered keeping the one-sided seating specially suited for saree-clad women. The Platina ComforTec 110 Aaram Rath had made its debut. Each Platina has a rider and old pilgrims are being ferried as pillions along the route allotted, from the Phaphamau Bus Stand to Naagvasuki Temple, Prayagraj, to the Sangam Nose, which is a confluence of three sacred rivers, or the bathing ghats for a dip. The pilgrims are also taken back to the spot from where they are picked up, or to the bus stop on the outskirts of Kumbh, which connects the whole of Prayagraj to the Kumbh City.

Narayan Sundararaman, Vice President, Bajaj Auto says the new Bajaj Platina Comfortec 110 strives to deliver the most comfortable ride experience in the category. “Platina essentially stands for comfort and we were clear that this activity would bring relief to people in need of help to reach the ghats,” he says.

The entire campaign took almost 50 days to put together. The brief to the ad agency was clear: “Let’s help the pilgrims on their journey and not showcase ourselves. Rather than blatantly selling the brand’s strengths, the idea was to ease pilgrims’ pain,” reminisces Nayak.

VR Rajesh, Office Leader, Ogilvy India (West) maintains it is not often that an opportunity of this scale and nature opens up. “Kumbh Mela attracts people of myriad backgrounds and geographies.

The locales and crowds make it very difficult for devotees to access different parts of the city and ghats,” he adds.

Terming it “a simple ferry service to the elderly,” Sukesh Nayak adds, “We have played an important role as a partner. This is not a brand campaign at the largest gathering of humanity. Yes, it is a place where our consumers are and where we can connect with them.”

He goes on, “With all the Platinas ferrying pilgrims, we have a live billboard going up and down the Kumbh. But this is not a sales pitch. What we have done instead is contribute in a small way to our consumers’ special journey.”

Published on February 14, 2019
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