Friday, July 30, 2010

TATA ACE – What are they trying to say?

A series of new TV commercials (TVCs) for Tata Ace are currently on air now, whenever I saw them on TV I found it difficult to comprehend the exact message the advertiser is trying to convey. To begin with I did not realize that there were more than one TVC running on TV for Tata Ace. In order to understand the commercial better I decided to examine it (at that time I thought that it was a single TVC) closely on YouTube. The first thing I realized that there are three TVCs each of 90 seconds duration; the titles given to them are Lalitpur, Malipet and Pehelgaon. The look and feel of these TVCs are almost identical, whatever differences exists among them are of no consequence, the script is essentially the same; if you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all. The TVCs attempted to be funny, how successfully I am not sure. Two TVCs feature one white man each and the third TVC features a white woman, each of them are shown participating in a quiz show at a rural mela like setting. The quiz master is a bald and comical character for all three films played by the same actor. The quiz master asks a question in each of the TVC, the correct answer to which is Tata Ace but the participant (in all three TVCs) is unable to get the answer right despite the fact that broad hints are given by the various characters present. After that various beneficial features of Tata Ace are rapidly conveyed, I feel too many things are being said in too short a time.

After viewing this set of Tata Ace TVCs some questions come to my mind. Why did they have to show the white participants to be so incredibly stupid? What was the reason for having the white characters in the first place? What was the need to have so many almost identical TVCs? Why was the message being communicated in such a complicated manner? How are they trying to position Tata Ace?

After seeing the TVCs the impression I got was that for the white characters Tata Ace was neither important nor relevant in any way, hence their inability to answer correctly. To my mind it was the quiz master character who was stupid and not the white participants. Instead of packing so much in the TVCs and making them so verbose and complicated, couldn’t they think of a simpler and more effective approach? It appears that the objective was to make a set of wacky ads, so they made them. Does this really help the brand?

Let me compare these TVCs with the TVC they made earlier in 2008. To my mind the old TVC effectively conveyed the product benefits in a simple and effective manner. The old TVC also had an emotional appeal and there was a feel good factor after watching the commercial. The story was about a young man who has a wife and a son; the man runs a successful business thanks to Tata Ace, he and his family are shown to be happy. The storyline is pretty simple and comprehensible; the commercial also has a melodious jingle in the background.

The proposition as I understood was very clear – Tata Ace is a reliable and dependable vehicle for your (target audience’s) needs and the users are successful and happy people.

I believe that a simple TVC conveys the message more effectively and is better understood. But when you pack in too much the main message is lost.


  1. Nice!... Yea I personally feel the same. I think they should change their approach with their new ADS. They should really stick back to concepts that target the masses with an innovative approach.

  2. They had made another commercial in 2007 which featured elephants, I find that there is no common thread running through these three campaigns; I wonder what is their strategy.

  3. Tata ace life ban jaayegi 45sec.VOB : Check at this point: 0,29, how it is possible to see a mirror image like this... a big mistake of this TVC