Thursday, February 15, 2007

Optra : For A Special Journey Called Life

Brand : Optra
Company: Chevrolet (General Motors)
Agency:McCann Erickson

Brand Count: 199

Chevrolet Optra was the brand that lifted the fortunes of General Motors in India. The brand Chevrolet was not a new brand forthe Indian market. The brand was present in the pre and post independent days in India. Chevrolet Impala was the preferred brand of car of the rich and famous during the late 40's. Chevy left India during the 60's in the wake of the nationalist movement.

Although General Motors was in the Indian market with its Opel range of cars, neither Astra or Corsa was considered as blockbuster brands in terms of volume.The company in 2003 introduced the Chevrolet brand in India. Globally Chevrolet was positioned independently with a personality on its own. The brand is considered to be a symbol of American culture.
In India when Chevrolet was introduced, the company considered it as a relaunch rather than as a new brand.The first brand from Chevrolet was the SUV branded Forrester. The brand had a lukewarm response from the market. The purpose of Forrester launch was to showcase the premiumness of the brand rather than to build volume.

In 2003 the company launched its blockbuster brand Optra in the market. The brand was in the D segment which is the premium sedan segment. During the launch , GM had two tasks, first was to establish the credibility of the Chevrolet brand then to establish the Optra brand.
To establish the Chevrolet brand, GM started a series of campaign connecting to the culture of the Indian consumers. The ads were the example of localising of a global brand. Chevy in those campaigns never talked about its American roots. The campaign showed glimpses of Indian culture and ended the ad with the tagline : " I am Chevrolet" .The purpose was to become close to Indian consumer.This was a bold move because the company decided to relinquish its secondary association of the Nation of origin of the brand.
The launch of Optra started with the series of Ads appealing to the rational mind of the customer. Typically the ad talked about the luxury and the features and functionality. This stage is very important in campaigns of high value and complex products to establish the points of parity.
The brand gained instant popularity because of the opulence and the luxury that the car provided. Although the customers new that Optra was the relaunch of Daewoo 's Nubira, the design and the package was so good that the product was a hit in the market.Optra was designed by the well known Italian design house Pininfarina.
At this point Optra launched its campaign aiming at an emotional positioning platform . The brand had a highly acclaimed campaign featuring the event " Karva Chauth". This ad gave the needed differentiation for the brand. The brand had one of the best taglines " For a Special Journey called Life". The TG for Optra was Executives in the age 30-45. The brand tried to communicate Love, Care and Warmth as its core values. These campaigns together with reasonable performance ensured the brand, 24% share in the D-segment.The brand faced heavyweights like Honda City and Sonata in this segment.
But during 2005-06, the company shifted its focus to new product launches like Aveo and U-Va. I don't remember any campaigns for Optra during this period. This lack of marketing support put the brand out of the race in the D segment. The leader in the segment Honda City redesigned the entire product and reinforced its leadership position.The brand also changed its tagline to " Its everything you have wished for".

Although this brand was doing well in the market, the sales slump was the result of the company losing focus on the brand. The emotional platform gave the brand a good start but the brand was not able to find a sustainable differentiation for itself. More over the brand faced competition from different categories rather than the sedans. For example a customer having a budget of 7-10 lakhs have the option of buying a Scorpio or a city or an Optra. Hence creating a meaningful positioning becomes paramount .With Honda city commanding the market, Optra should have to add/ show more value to the customer.
Some effort is now started in rejuvenating the brand. Let us wait and see how it succeeds.

source: indianauto,iitb,agencyfaqs,businessline
imagesource:chevrolet website, agencyfaqs