Have you ever seen a car stuck in the mud? The wheels are spinning, the engine is screaming, the driver is pressing the gas pedal as if it will unleash a hidden superpower. Yet, the car will not move an inch. Automotive advertising is in the same situation – stuck in the past.
Although the automotive market contains a slew of competitors by dynamic automakers from China, Korea, Malaysia, China, and even Europe, and the range of choices available are now more vibrant than before, the marketing has not changed. To be fair, internationally, automotive advertising is known to be cliché ridden and devoid of freshness.
However, some ads have thankfully broken away from the mould.
1. Kia Stonic
The ad departs from the norm. A woman is grocery shopping, while being urged by what seems to be her rebellious alter ego, to buy junk food and snap back at a stereotypical aunty asking her about “good news.” The woman and her alter ego walk out of the store and merge into one before getting into a Kia Stonic. The message: conformity and meeting expectations are boring. Well-executed!
2. Toyota Yaris
An important model for its maker. For decades, Toyota had various tiers of the Corolla competing against Honda’s City and Civic. The Yaris has been positioned as a hip car and the ads show off its smart features, including a [what appears to be] bassy stereo system, push-button start and smart handles. The refreshing aspect is that the ads avoid giving a laundry list of features and instead focus on one or two aspects of the new model. It is a clever strategy given that Honda’s vehicles are better known for their driving pleasure.
3. Suzuki Alto
Another notable campaign, although released three years ago, was the one for the Suzuki Alto 660 cc. The Alto had faced competition from Chinese manufacturers and import constraints. Interestingly, the launch for the new variant equated the car with a new bride; it was positioned as a source of happiness and celebration for friends and family. The ad was effective and steeped in local culture. However, it did not exactly sell the specific model, rather just the idea of a new car.
Given that there is not a whole lot of creativity in automotive advertising around the world, the Pakistani car ad scene is at least diverse and evolving. And that is a good thing.
Talha bin Hamid is an accountant and observer of pop culture. firstname.lastname@example.org