Most of you would have seen the ad of Zen Estilo on tv, where everything and everyone is depicted as boring boxes and then comes the Zen Estilo, making a 'style statement'. The first time I was watching it, I wondered and tried to predict what could be the product. I could figure it out before the car turned up on the screen, but next, I wondered what purpose does the ad serve. Let us do some analysis.
First, lets look at what did the advertiser want to achieve with the ad. Naturally Maruti's ultimate aim would be to have their car sell well. If it was an existing and popular product, and people already know about it, an ad needs to serve the purpose of giving a good brand recall. Say, if the ad was for an Alto or Wagon R, people already know about the product. And if a viewer is bombarded with adverts, when he decides to buy a car, he will remember to check out the Alto or Wagon R too.
But the Zen Estilo is new, and is not known to the viewer. So an ad has to serve the purpose of - a. Introducing the new product to the viewer b. Educate him of the benefits of the car, and tell him why he should buy it.
So if you have an ad that praised the economy that the Estilo could offer, its low price, smooth ride, or such features that would make a potential buyer think of adding the Estilo to his list of cars to checkout. But the ad does not make any effort in that direction.
Now, even if we consider Zen as an old brand in new avatar, lets see if the ad serves to provide a good brand recall. Brand recall happens when you make an ad that people sit up and notice, like the Hutch ad. Or when you add some nice jingles that make people sing it even when the ad is out from the screen, or with something silly, or by getting celebrities to endorse it and such tactics. The Zen ad doesn't do any of this. Okay, lets forget all the formulas and agree that it's a new 'concept' ad and it might get noticed. If you were told that you are a miserable boring person(or 'dabba') and you can uplift yourself only by getting inside a Zen, do you think you would consider doing just that? Unlikely isn't it? The Estilo ad is trying just that. It tries to call everyone a looser unless you are in the Estilo. Marketers know that such ads have never had a long term positive effect on a product, and if it is a new product, things could be even worse.
Next, lets look at where does the ad try to place the car. It talks about making a 'style statement'. How many car buyers in this segment really look at making a 'style statement' with their car? Although I can't say with numbers and figures that might be arrived out of a survey, personal experience tells me that most small car buyers want better pricing, fuel economy and low maintenance cost. Sadly, though Zen servers all these needs, it is not highlighted. This is debatable though, and I have to give some credit for the idea of 'style statement'. The erstwhile Zen was known as a pretty and stylish car and was known for its good looks, and Maruti may be trying to fill the void created by it. But is the car really worth such a marketing effort is another question they need to ask themselves.
Luckily Maruti, and the Zen are in a position to attract buyers no matter how good or bad its advertisement turns out. Maruti is a well established brand, and being a small, economy car, Zen has a market of ready buyers. But some good marketing could do a bit more to improve its sales.