<p>Toyota might not have any new car launches this season but it has a new campaign to liven things up. Having entered the mass segment in India with its compact range, comprising the Etios and the Etios Liva a little over a year ago, the campaign marks its first major attempt to communicate to the masses.
Among the five brands in Toyota’s Indian joint-venture with Kirloskar, four have been bucking the slump in the auto segment so far. The sale of the Corolla Altis, a premium sedan, has slowed down. But the compact sedan and hatchback Etios, the multipurpose vehicle (MPV) Innova and the sports utility vehicle (SUV) Fortuner have been clocking growth in sales for Toyota year on year. The new Waku Doki campaign revolves around these four. Borrowing from its Japanese lineage, it is saying Waku Doki rather than taking the earlier said line of bharosa (trust).
In Japan, Waku Waku Doki Doki denotes the adrenaline rush and pleasure that stem from anticipation and thrill. Toyota’s Waku Doki will be synonymous with the experience of driving and owning a Toyota vehicle.
With a new consumer, the first-time car buyer of the Etios range on its hand, in addition to the seasoned enthusiast who goes for its bigger cars, Toyota wanted to capture the excitement and joy that accompanies a car purchase. “We wanted to capture the excitement of ownership in Toyota’s brand equity,” says Sandeep Singh, deputy managing director, marketing, Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM). The brief to the agency, Percept H, was to equate the car company with creating happy moments for their customers.
The campaign centres on getting the audience to share their Waku Doki moments — both to familiarise them with the context of the phrase and to increase participation in the brand. To invite the audience, Toyota has roped in Virat Kohli, the cricketer. Cricket’s wide appeal and moments of both anticipation and thrill made it a simple metaphor for the Waku Doki moment. Kohli, a youth icon and a promising cricketer, was picked to connect with the youth, making Toyota stand for providing joy at every stage of their lives through different offerings. It would also make the campaign relevant for future launches, when Toyota bridges the gap between its Etios range and the Corolla Altis in its portfolio.
The present set of four ads recreates different moments of disappointment in life and how a ride in a Toyota vehicle paves the way to thrilling and unexpected results. The protagonists in the ads are surprised by Virat Kohli who says Waku Doki and takes them on a ride in a Toyota car. Though they are confused by the phrase at the start, the ride builds up anticipation and ends with thrilling surprises for each of them. The Etios Liva ad opens with a group of friends who are downcast when the ticket counter at a football match runs out of tickets. Kohli takes them to the rooftop of a building adjacent to the stadium in an Etios Liva, and they watch the match live while sitting in the car. In the ad for the Etios sedan, we are shown a a girl mourning the end of a romantic relationship, as she rues the past and puts away mementos in a box. This time a ride in the Etios, driven by Kolhi, transports the girl to a restaurant where her sweetheart had arranged to surprise her with his marriage proposal.
A bored teenager fiddling with his computer game gets the Waku Doki moment on a Fortuner in the next ad when Kolhi rescues him from his boredom with some driving stunts in Toyota’s SUV. For the Innova, it is a kid who is unable to play to her heart’s content. She tries to fly a balloon but in vain until Kohli enters the scene. The ad cuts to Kohli driving her family and the girl in an Innova. We find out that it was a ride to a hot-air balloon launch site and the girl wears a pleasant smile as she readies to sit in one. All the ads end with Kohli asking the audience to share their Waku Doki moments with him.
Nilesh Naik, senior creative director, Percept H, says, “The task was to make Waku Doki synonymous with exciting, heart-thumping moments. We did this through an integrated campaign which shows people, both young and old, experiencing such moments that everyone can relate to.” Launched in June, the 45-seconders will extend to a 360-degree communication plan.
Those responding to Kohli’s invite will become a part of the digital leg of the campaign. They will share their experiences on Toyota’s website, to win prizes such as Nokia Lumia and Toyota merchandise. “We had always planned for digital to be a big part of the campaign, to explain the concept, engage the audience one-on-one and amplify the message through social media. This has already begun and we are monitoring it closely,” says Singh. Print, radio, outdoor and cinema are the other components of the campaign.
Toyota has mostly run product-specific ads earlier for the Corolla Altis, Innova, Fortuner, Etios and the Etios Liva, some of them shot in India and some its international campaigns. Its corporate brand campaign in India was “Toyota Yaani Bharosa” (Toyota means trust). Putting its might behind the current campaign, Toyota is moving away from the benefit-laden promise of trust and quality to the softer quotient of a strong emotional connect based on the experience of riding a Toyota car. Singh says, “Toyota’s corporate campaigns in 2010 and 2011 were based on Toyota’s equity of trustworthiness which springs from its reputation of quality, reliability and durability. It was time to take it to the next level and address more emotional needs of car ownership in India.”
The campaign comes at a time when the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam) lowered its car sales growth forecast for this financial year ending next March, as higher costs and slower economic expansion took a toll on consumer demand. Petrol cars were the worst-hit. Unlike other popular carmakers such as Honda, which launched its petrol-only small car Brio last year, Toyota had ensured that the Etios and the Etios Liva, its made-for-India makes don’t lose out on the increasing demand for diesel cars by introducing diesel variants as well. While the Etios Liva still has some ground to cover in a Maruti-ruled compact segment with 3.7 per cent, the Etios enjoys a 26.8 per cent share in the super-compact segment. Innova enjoys 15.7 per cent and the Fortuner 3.1 per cent in utility vehicle segment.