If the Nano is all about innovation, the advertising strategy isn't far behind.
Group Chairman Ratan Tata told reporters on Monday that the company was "looking at unconventional mediums like web search, viral marketing and innovative public relations-driven campaigns, where the news in brief is called 'Nano news' in some papers and television advertisement breaks are called 'Nano breaks.' There will be many more such innovations."
Tata Nano's print campaign was unveiled on Monday. Unlike most car launches, this one will not be supported by a television campaign. The company booked all web search engines to serve pop-up ads on Monday evening (at the time of the official launch), encouraging internet users to book the car.
Other initiatives include online games, merchandise and accessories like Nano branded T-shirts, key chains, teddy bears and watches. "We have launched Tata Nano-related merchandise for people awaiting the car," said Ravi Kant, managing director, Tata Motors. The car is expected to hit the roads by July. And going by the success of the accessories line in Geneva, where Nano-related accessories were unveiled, "it will be a big hit," said experts.
The unconventional advertising strategy has also resulted in huge savings for the company, as the Nano has become a household name much before its launch. "The company has already got publicity worth over Rs 500 crore (Rs 5 billion) due to its public relations campaign, where it made global news due to the fact that it is an Indian manufacturer building the world's cheapest car. And also for the wrong reasons, like the Singur controversy," said an advertising professional who works on Chevrolet Spark's creative account. He adds, "Now, the most critical task for the company is to deliver and sustain the hype that it has created."
The company will also save on account of not running a television commercial. Typical car launches have advertisement budgets of Rs 20-30 crore (Rs 200-300 million), with a large percentage of this devoted to television. "For instance, the Mahindra Xylo had a budget of Rs 15-18 crore (Rs 150-180 million) for the first six weeks of the car's launch," said Joe Thaliath, chief operations officer, Interface Communications, the creative agency for Mahindra Xylo.
The size of the Tata Nano account is estimated at no more than Rs 5 crore (Rs 50 million). Mahesh Chauhan, group chief executive officer, Rediffusion Y&R, the creative agency for the Tata Nano, says, "We are certain that this business will be a large account over time."