Blue-eyed Boy, WagonR, changes innovation gear at in.com

Maruti-Suzuki's re-launched WagonR, heralded as the "Blue-eyed Boy', has moved India's campaigning approach to a higher gear by driving an innovation in the digital medium. When in.com turned completely blue recently to promote the car, a new hue of thinking was emblazoned on the country's adscape. In an exclusive conversation with Adgully, Sayantan Dasgupta, the associate vice-president of Network18 (which owns in.com) explained the rationale of the campaign.

Dasgupta began by praising Maruti-Suzuki's openness to novel strategies. "Maruti is, for sure, one of the biggest spenders online," Dasgupta said. "In fact, it always has been open to new ideas when it comes to integrating different brands with different portals. The company has also been one of the pioneers in terms of understanding the importance of owning sporting and other important properties by taking up long-term sponsorships." As a case in point, Dasgupta cited Maruti's long-term association (more than five years) with Cricinfo. "Maruti has also successfully tried some path-breaking ideas in the online media," he said. "The gift-a-car idea, targeted at the NRI audience, was one such example."

The in.com campaign certainly rates as another hit. But how was the site identified as the right fit?

Finally, Adgully asked Singh if the share of display advertising was decreasing vis-Ã-vis performance advertising. "See, there are some clients who, more often than not, will always tend to prefer performance advertising," Singh said. "Banking and financial & insurance clients usually follow this approach. But I don't see any trend of display losing out to performance advertising. Interestingly, there were various instances, at least in my experience, where display advertising has delivered much better ROI than a performance-based campaign." He said that as long as ROI was being delivered, the nature of a campaign was immaterial. "What is not good for digital advertising is the clients' tendency to jump to performance advertising without sparing a thought for the objectives of a brand," he said. "The lack of education in the digital medium is one of the key reasons for the blatant use of performance marketing."

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