Industry POV

‘If we know it’s wrong, why do we still do it?’ asks Maruti Suzuki - Amit Wadhwa and Soumitra Karnik

While the execution and creativity of the campaign comprising eight films have been praised by the industry, some feel that the impact of the campaign may be limited because of a lack of ‘prompt for change’

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Mumbai | May 9, 2016

Maruti Suzuki’s latest campaign promoting road safety consists of eight adfilms, marvellously tapping the insight ‘If we know it’s wrong, why do we still do it? Conceptualised by Dentsu Creative Impact, the films and their execution got full marks from industry peer for bringing out the point in a very entertaining and precise manner.

However, the lack of ‘prompt for change’ is what has been pointed by a few experts. Largely, creative minds feel that it is difficult to craft road safety campaigns, mainly because driving home a change in attitude is very difficult.

India features as one of the countries with the highest rate of road accidents in the world. And Maruti Suzuki has, for long, been going that extra mile to spread road safety awareness and bring about change. This campaign is part of its efforts in the same direction.

The campaign broke on April 8, and the films are in edits of 35, 40 and 45seconds. Exposure mediums includetelevision, cinema, digital, DTH.

The films very cleverly depict the apathy of road users and drivers toward road safety and the connected risks. This apathy of Indian road users can sometimes have dire consequences for them and fellow road users. The campaign aims to stir their conscience and make them reflect on this apathy.

Each of the eight ad films focuses on one of the basic traffic rules including not wearing seatbelt/ helmet, not stopping at zebra crossings, giving way to ambulances, riding on footpaths, changing lanes without any precautions or indicator, and driving under the influence of alcohol. The plot of each film makes the viewer pause and ponder about their own behaviour. In each film, the protagonist (rule breaker) tells in a sarcastic manner what will be the consequences of the mistake that he had just committed while driving. Each film concludes with the voiceover saying:“If we know it’s wrong, why do we still do it?”


Client Says

Vinay Pant, AVP, Marketing, Maruti Suzuki India, said, “It’s a hard-hitting campaign, rooted in on-road insights. Our desired impact would be that people are moved to think and reflect on their attitude. Intent is that every time people are breaking a traffic rule out of apathy, they should be reminded of these films, hopefully have a change of heart and start making the roads safer.”

Mahesh Rajoria, AVP, Driving Training, Maruti Suzuki India, said, “Being a leader in the Indian automotive industry, Maruti Suzuki has always gone beyond providing people with mobility solutions. We always go an extra mile to ensure the well-being of our society. We believe that it is our responsibility to work towards making the Indian roads safer and our teams work tirelessly to spread awareness about safe driving and traffic regulations.”

Makers’ Take

Amit Wadhwa, Branch Head & President, Dentsu Creative Impact, said, “Since the start, the intention was to look out for new and unconventional ways to communicate a simple message of road safety. With a strong insight, we feel we can reach out to those who may not always break the rules because they want to, but because they are so used to it by now that it has become a part of them. And our honest effort is to at least make them think before they act.”

Soumitra Karnik, NCD, Dentsu Creative Impact, added, “We believe in developing strong campaigns using consumer insights as a base so that the message reaches the right segment. With the core insight of ‘If we know it’s wrong, why do we still do it?’ the expectation is to touch base with each individual.”

Creative Scorecard

KV Sridhar, Chief Creative Officer, Sapient Nitro India, said, “I really liked the intent of the film – they have focused on the fact that we know we are breaking the rules but we still do it. They have cleverly put both sides of the coin; both the views are depicted by the same person that he/ she is breaking the rule and that he shouldn’t do it. Everything seems correct and the intent is very good. If there is anyadvice I want to give for any public service ad, it is to portray a deep insight as to why people do it. This reason needs to be depicted in the film; by just stating what we are doing will not change anything. In these films, though, it is a very clever execution – you are not telling him (the rule breaker) anything that will change his behaviour. If instead, we know the reason for doing a mistake and address that, that insight might help a change in the behaviour. All great ads have that insight into people’s behaviour and depict what can change this habit. I think that is somehow missing here. While the ads are good, entertaining and make their point understood, I don’t know if that will change attitudes or behaviour.”

Saurabh Dasgupta, National Creative Director, Innocean Worldwide, seconds the thought. He commented, “The films are nice, to begin with. But somewhere I don’t think they will make any difference. They reflect on our behaviour all right, but they are not saying anything or doing anything to change it. I also felt a bit confused. See, if I know that I am breaking a rule then why am I not doing anything about it? It certainly mirrors how hardened we’ve become when it comes to our own conscience, but then the films leave me feeling defensive in the end. Though they are watchable, nice commercials, they are not going anywhere beyond that. Change is critical. Road fatalities and incidence of accidents have to come down and that is the true measure of a campaign like this. The execution is nice, but like I said, can they save lives is my question. It is not really easy to create a road safety campaign in a country like India given today’s day and age. The fact that there is an attempt is commendable. But then, this is not really pushing that change.”

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