Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Mahindra XUV 500 : Inspired by Cheetah

Brand : Mahindra XUV 500
Company : Mahindra

Brand Analysis Count : # 508

Mahindra launched its first product from its first global SUV platform branded as XUV 500 in the Indian market. The launch was witnessed with great interest by motor enthusiasts since XUV 500 was perceived as a successor to the iconic Mahindra Scorpio. Mahindra virtually shook the SUV market in India when it launched its Scorpio brand in 2002. Auto enthusiasts were expecting something similar this time too.

And Mahindra did not disappoint at all.

XUV 500 excited the market with its bold masculine looks and a very aggressive pricing. The brand which priced itself at Rs 10.81 -12 Lakh for its two variants literally sent shock-waves to the  competitor landscape. The price was juicy for the C-segment car customers to think about XUV as an option. The company has rightly nailed both the product and the price.
According to the newsreports , through XUV 500, the company intends to create a category in the Rs 10-15 lakh segment. There is a gap that exists between Scorpio and the premium SUVs and this brand is expected to fill the gap.

Right from the brand's launch announcement, the company has been presenting the idea that XUV 500 was inspired by Cheetah. Cheetah which is known for its speed and agility was a perfect metaphor for the attributes that XUV wanted to project. 
The teaser ad for XUV launch was bang on with the idea of being Cheetah Inspired.

Watch the teaser ad : XUV Teaser

The idea of using the Cheetah as the metaphor is really smart because of the ease with which that convey's the brand's projected attributes. But all those build-up got wasted when I saw the launch campaign of this brand.
Watch the launch campaign : XUV ( I don't like Carrots)
This launch campaign would easily be one of the horrible ads in recent times. The client brief would be something like " Let us build a horrible ad and see whether a good product would sell despite bad advertising".
There is nothing much to talk about this launch campaign. The campaign neither has a big idea nor has some newness in execution. Jungle, hunk, scantily clad man-eating ladies and XUV... There is no trace of any logic or marketing thought behind the ad. To add to the insult, there are some phrases like " I hate Carrots " I am Hungry etc . May be the agency thought XUV 500 was a deo with some fruit and vegetable flavors ! What a waste !
Having said that, in the automotive market, it is the product that build brands and not the other way around. Despite this hopeless ad, consumers will buy this brand and may even evangelize it  if the product proves itself . Ads mainly play a supportive role in most cases. But there are brands which create an aura with smart advertising which later transforms the product dominated brand ( tangible attributes) to an intangible dominated brand. That is how iconic brands are created.  
XUV 500 wasted a terrific opportunity to build a brand using promotion. The brand was thinking about linking itself with adventure stories of its users but the execution killed that idea. There is no connection between Cheetah, the brand and the current advertising theme. Cheetahs are hunters but in the current ad, the brand user gets hunted.  Its just an ad but more than a poor ad, the brand lost a very crucial brand building opportunity.