Bajaj V: Stepping up India’s heartbeats!

After what seems like eons, a product concept caught my eye the other day and made my heart first soar with awe and then dance with joy.

The awe was for the creative mind who conceived of a brand idea and emotion that would be embedded in the product itself.

The joy was because this retired Marketing & Advertising professional hadn’t seen such a feat in India for a long, long time.

I don my hat to Bajaj Auto and its agency Leo Burnett for developing the Bajaj V and coming up with a product that is bound to step up India’s heartbeats.

I have zero interest in motorbikes. Neither will I pretend to know anything at all about the category.

What I do know is that the power of a brand stems from great product ideas and the experience thereof. That is what I have found missing in recent times across many a category. It’s a subject that I have dwelled on in The brand is dead! Long live the brand!,  The Grand Marketing Tamasha and Has anyone seen Quality? I am looking for her.

If you read those earlier missives, perhaps you will better understand why the Bajaj V made me sit up and take notice.

Imagine a decommissioned warship slated for the junk yard.

Imagine the mind who saw a nation’s pride, the INS Vikrant, being sold as scrap.

Then, think of that same mind connecting the dots and conceiving of embedding the scrap metal into a motorbike, the Bajaj V. Readers interested in learning how to connect such dots may like to visit Briefing: Brilliance!

Inconceivable! Yet, this mind I am asking you to imagine came up with the concept of using scrap metal from the INS Vikrant to reinforce the ‘invincible’ brand position for a 150 cc bike.

By the way, the mind in question, as I later learnt, belongs to Kevin Lobo, a Creative Director in Leo Burnett India.

The agency suggested the idea to Bajaj Auto who immediately saw the potential in the idea and bought up the scrap metal from the INS Vikrant. Today, the Bajaj V’s fuel tank powers the bike and India’s heartbeats with the virat* strength of the INS Vikrant, a warship, known to carry an entire nation’s grateful emotions and pride.

Bajaj V Tank Insignia. Image courtesy Indigo Consulting
Bajaj V Tank Insignia. Image courtesy Bajaj V website

Actually, I am not that surprised that Bajaj Auto bought into the idea immediately. After all, Bajaj has long seen itself as a brand that the nation could take pride in. Remember the Lintas created ad Hamara Bajaj** that ran in the late 1980s? If you haven’t seen it, take a look (I’m afraid the quality of the video isn’t too good but do watch the ad…you won’t regret it).

I hope the Bajaj V campaign when it breaks manages to be as powerfully emotional as the Hamara Bajaj television commercial featured here.

To my mind, it certainly has the potential to do so. Consider this.

In 1988, Chevrolet ran a wildly successful campaign, positioning the brand as the heartbeat of America. Here, take a look and enjoy the Chevrolet commercial.

The Chevrolet campaign touched heartbeats in America by playing on the fact that the brand had long been part and parcel of the nation’s culture and memory.

The Bajaj V has gone way beyond that by embedding a whole nation’s emotions in the product itself. It is that fact, which takes the core idea to genius level.

Now, I only hope that the campaign when it breaks lives up to the same genius and succeeds in stepping up India’s heartbeats.

One last word. I watched the launch of the Bajaj V on You Tube because the press coverage on Republic Day (beautiful timing to introduce the product) had intrigued me so. I am glad I watched because I got a chance to watch Rajiv Bajaj in action. The man leaves an impression because of his down-to-earth style. But what really impressed me was his asking his design engineer, Mushtaq Anis, and the creative mind behind the concept, Kevin Lobo, to stand up and take the credit for Bajaj V.

Very few Managing Directors do that in front of an audience filled with media and business analysts. Here’s the video. It is almost an hour-long. You can watch the full video if you have the time. But if you would just like to watch Rajiv Bajaj give credit where it is due, I suggest you watch from around 40.00 onwards.

#BajajV #Marketing #Advertising #Branding


Featured Cover Image Credit: Bajaj V – Ins Vikrant Insignia: Image from Bajaj V website.

*Virat is a word in several Indian languages, which varyingly means brilliant, majestic, massive.

** The featured Hamara Bajaj ad was created by Prashant Godbole and Rahul DaCunha when they were with Lintas.

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