Aurora Magazine

Promoting excellence in advertising

A Tongue-in-Cheek Challenge to the Status-Quo

Published in Nov-Dec 2021

What's behind Changan's catchy ad campaigns?

Changan Alsvin – a Chinese passenger vehicle owned by Changan Automobile and launched in Pakistan in collaboration with local partner Master Motor Corporation Limited (in December 2020), recently released a thematic campaign called ‘Drive Your Dreams’, with the aim of establishing Changan Alsvin as the most disruptive and technologically advanced car in Pakistan.

Commenting on the campaign, Hamza Siddiqui, Brand Manager, Changan Alsvin, says, since the launch in last December on digital, which featured Danial Malik, CEO, Master Motor, talking about the pain points experienced by sedan customers in Pakistan, Alsvin has become the most talked-about car in the country – and this started the buildup for the current thematic campaign. According to Siddiqui, Alsvin is aimed at customers who want a sedan with a bit of extra oomph in its design. More prosaically, the car is targeted at customers the company dubs as ‘intelligent’; in other words, people willing to trade off the label of an established brand name in exchange for a better price point; and one that comes with more features than those offered by a conventional sedan. These features include sunroof, cruise control, floating HMI display, dynamic reverse guidance parking sensors, TPMS, dual-clutch transmission and start-stop technology and a highly fuel-efficient Euro 5 engine that saves fuel and “which are not available in any other sedan.”

Changan Alsvin currently offers customers three price points; starting from Rs 2,424,000, upwards to Rs 2,674,000 and finally Rs 2,864,000 for the top of the line variant. In this respect,

Siddiqui clarifies that “even if our customers buy the base variant, it still offers all the features a customer would only get in a top of the range variant made by another manufacturer – such as leather, HMI, parting sensors, alloy wheels, steering control along with chrome exterior.” He adds that all Alsvin models are current-generation models, “which is rare in Pakistan’s auto industry – most auto brands when launching international models in Pakistan, introduce old generation models and are usually stripped off their best features.” Alsvin’s competitors in the sedan category include Honda City, Suzuki Swift and Toyota Yaris.

All Alsvin vehicles are assembled in Pakistan at Changan’s only RHD (right-hand drive) assembly plant. The fact that Changan has invested in this singular RHD plant is seen as a sign of the parent company making the cars a success in Pakistan. The recent campaign was executed by Ogilvy Pakistan (thematic TVC and radio) and Ishtehari (digital debut, thematic digital, OOH and radio stunts). According to Umair Kazi, Partner, Ishtehari, the objectives were to create talkability around Alsvin and the Changan brand, as well as to create aspirational brand value to cement Alsvin as a worthy contender in the market.

“The subcompact segment is very relevant to the middle-class. Our insight was that these customers have been taken for a ride by the incumbents for too long and it was time to challenge the status quo,” says Kazi.

Keeping the above in mind, the campaign debuted exclusively on digital under the tagline ‘WinWinWithAlsvin’. The main thematic #DriveYourDreams was launched both on ATL and Digital. Kazi says a two-pronged approach was taken. A “‘carefully crafted dig” at the competitors, with minimalistic white billboards simply reading “Please ignore the Changan Alsvins on the road* – Sincerely, The Status Quo.” (the asterisk featured “if you can” in the lower-left side of the artwork).

The radio ad was similarly “tongue-in-cheek”. Given that Alsvin has a comparatively small market share, Kazi says audiences are likely to hear the spot while driving or sitting in cars other than an Alsvin. The idea was to sound as if the car they are in, is talking to them and asking them to ignore Alsvin’s message. Both initiatives, according to Kazi were designed to instigate curiosity “and their virality and buzz value was a testament that we achieved this objective.”

The second set of ads featured messages to build upon the “dream” concept and aimed at boosting the overall image of a sedan – “our long-term objective,” says Siddiqui, “is to elevate Changan’s image as a smart, future-oriented brand in Pakistan.”

Going forward, the brand – having acquired a chunk of market share in the MPV (multi-purpose/light commercial vehicles) category and then launched Alsvin in the passenger vehicle segment – is now working on entering the other passenger segments.