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By: Dentsu (Noida) and TBWA

This week, we pit two small car commercials against each other, one of the revamped Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 and another of Nissan Motors’ Datsun Redi-go. The Alto spot features a young couple in the front and their parents sitting at the back, heading to a scenic spot. Most of the TVC features the 1975 song ‘My heart is beating’ with the men of the car giving romantic vibes to their wives, and only mentions its features toward the end. The Datsun spot plays an original soundtrack throughout, with young people from various settings rushing in to sit in their new cars and drive them to a common spot, a desert setting, before hugging and high-fiving.

Hatchbacks are back, or so it seems with the two commercials of last week, both films released within days of each other. And although Datsun’s redi-GO calls itself a ‘unique fusion of compact crossover and hatchback’, it’s rivaling the Goliath of the category, Alto 800, which has introduced a new model.

More than the similarities of both the films – their one-minute duration and dependence on a soundtrack – their differences in approaching their target audience are striking. Their makers might be one of the oldest in the business (Datsun, owned by Nissan, dates back to the 1930s) but for the massive Indian market with its upwardly mobile entry-level car buyer, they have donned apt get-ups for the wooing to begin.

Datsun is the young, funky candy-floss seller here, carrying a boom-box and shiny accessories. He hopes to be the pied piper of hatchbacks, and shows his colourful young TA rushing out of workplaces to sit in his car. The ‘slow-mo, excited running’ is an element of one out of every 5 ads – apparel sales and colas being the biggest culprits. Where the blingy folks are rushing to, I am not sure, because I see them driving through forests, Goan roads and assorted surroundings but they eventually end up in a desert, facing a sign which reads ‘Ready India’. The face value of this might seem stupid, but ‘we have arrived’ is the larger message here, especially with the price tag of ‘2.39 lac’ onwards. The soundtrack is a win too, a tactic used well by Renault India since the past two years.

The ‘David’ of the story here is a gentle, greying man selling sweet peanuts. Unlike his fancier rival, he doesn't break into a dance to attract attention, rather sings an old number. Maruti Suzuki’s biggest asset, its image of trust, comes across in this commercial which has no passing shots of interiors, logo et al. What’s new in the 800 cc variant is simply mentioned towards the end, and is enough to drive home the point.

Who will race ahead in the long run, peanuts or candy floss, now depends on auto mag reviews and car dealers.

(Watch the Alto spot on YouTube.com/MarutiSuzukiAlto800 and Datsun’s on YouTube.com/DatsunIndia)


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