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The new Suzuki Ritz campaign brand study


In its latest campaign for the Ritz, Maruti Suzuki says that the premium car has it all. Competition, after all, is catching up

Maruti Suzuki has rolled out a new television commercial for its premium hatchback, the Ritz, which revolves around the theme of Ritz choices. The campaign positions the car as one that offers the customer all he can ask for. As competition in the segment has picked up with a slew of new launches in 2009, and more lined up this year, Maruti Suzuki hopes the campaign will create a differentiator for the Ritz.

The first half of the film talks about compromises people have to make every day of their lives. The film starts with a boy and a girl, both busy painting two walls: One with pink, and the other with blue. The voiceover says: "Pink or blue?" The shot then moves to the lobby in a multi-storey, where an elevator is going up, while another is headed down. Voiceover: "Up or down?" The next vignette: A rose petal falls on a clean white bed, and an earthen pot is broken into pieces. Voiceover: "Apologise or argue?" The next shot is inside a car, where a husband is confused whether he should give time to his wife or his mother. "Wife or mother?" The following clip shows a glutton on a treadmill, while someone is relishing an orange. The voiceover: "Sweat or starve"? The last shot shows a man entering through the glass doors of an office, while another man with a smiling face comes out of it with a carton full of his belongings. The voiceover: "Quit or stick"? The film shifts its focus to the Ritz now, and says: "Why choose? When one car has it all: Performance and mileage, comfort and excitement, space and style."

The second half of the TVC builds on the positioning of the Ritz in the Indian passenger-car market. The 40-second television commercial, which is already on air, revolves around compromises that an individual has to make, and talks about how the Ritz makes it easy when it comes to choosing a car. There are two more versions of the TVC: A 30-seconder and a 20-seconder that have less vignettes.

Second coming
This is the Ritz’s second campaign since its launch in May 2009. While its first campaign had the elements of a TVC, cinema and out-of-home, the new campaign has a TVC, an outdoor campaign, and a radio campaign which will be around the same theme of choice. Maruti Suzuki India Chief General Manager (marketing) Shashank Srivastava says: "The ‘Ritz development’ was the launch campaign. Thus, it was more information-centric which did the image-building part for the Ritz in the upper A2 segment. However, ‘Ritz choices’ is about our all-rounder car that has everything: Comfort, space, performance, mileage, excitement and style. The new TVC builds on this. According to it, life is all about compromises, and one has to always choose one over the other. But with the Ritz, there are no compromises, and there is just one choice. Everything is given at one place."

Dentsu Creative Impact, Maruti Suzuki’s creative agency, conceptualised both the Ritz campaigns. Dentsu Creative Impact Vice-president & Executive Director J Minohara explains the difference between the Ritz choices campaign and its first campaign. "The first campaign had a clear task: To launch the car by incorporating many contemporary European styling elements, and creating the desire for the new car. It generated a lot of consumer interest. This time around, the task was to focus on the advantages the car has on offer. Also, the upper A2 segment is witnessing unprecedented competitive activity with the launch of new cars. Focusing on the advantages of the car will help consolidate the Ritz’s leadership, and persuade the car-buyer to arrive at a choice."

Business angle
Srivastava explains the logic behind the new campaign. "The Ritz is an important model for us. It has two versions: Petrol and diesel. It sells close to 6,000 units every month, and since its launch, about 50,000 units have been sold. The Ritz comes in the upper A2 segment which is a premium category than our other A2 segment vehicles like the Estilo, the Alto and the WagonR. While the Swift is an individualistic vehicle, the Ritz stands for a family vehicle with the tall-boy design unlike the Swift which is a low-boy design. We were careful in positioning the two to avoid competition. The second campaign moves from the image building of the Ritz to a way which is more sophisticated, adding a tinge of luxury."

What is the objective of this campaign? "We had to take this to the next level to establish the rationality of purchasing the Ritz. The objective of the campaign is to amplify the Ritz as an all-rounder and a complete package in the premium hatchback segment, and to infuse a sense of no-compromise among buyers when it comes to going for a premium hatchback," adds Srivastava.

The timing of the Ritz campaign is also important. The upper A2 segment is attracting a lot of competition. In 2009, Honda launched the Jazz, Fiat launched the Punto, and Hyundai came up with the i20. There is more. The early part of 2010 saw a series of launches in this segment with the Ford Figo, General Motors Chevrolet Beat and Volkswagen Polo. Nissan Motor Company’s small car, the Mirca, and the Toyota Etios are in the pipeline. With many cars available in the market, buyers have a wide choice. Each car thus needs to position itself distinctly in the market.

Minohara of Dentsu says the Ritz campaign stands apart from other car campaigns. "The idea was to uncomplicate the decision of car-buying which is often a complex process, which no other car campaign talks about. This campaign revolves around the universal truism of trade-offs we make in life in a manner no car in the country has ever leveraged. Making a choice in life is a reality which none can escape, whether it is at work, home or anywhere else for that matter; we are always at the crossroads when it comes to making choices. Choosing one thing over another can leave us feeling compromised. The TVC brings this dilemma alive, and says that at least when it comes to cars, this dilemma has now been put to rest through the Ritz."

Maruti Suzuki’s Srivastava adds: "We are the market leader in the upper A2 segment with the Swift and the Ritz. This segment is driving growth in the passenger-car market in the last seven to eight years. While in the entire A2 segment our market share is 60 per cent, in the upper A2 segment we have close to 80 per cent with these two cars. Others are entering this segment. This leads us to protect our positioning. This campaign takes it to the next level of brand positioning."

The TVC was shot in a span of five days, and was directed by Joachim Nielson. "We have 4,000-5,000 spots. The reach of the TVC will be 40-45 per cent in the following order: Sports channels, English and Hindi news channels, general entertainment channels and Hindi movie channels," says Srivastava, adding that the radio campaign is on yet to come, supplementing the TVC. "The campaign will also see various touch-points in a 360-degree approach," adds he. Will it work?