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The CARS24 advertising journey


So what do you think works well for your brand? Emotional advertising? Functional advertising? Both?

The recent CARS24 campaign got us thinking about this. Selling your car via a tech enabled intermediary. CARS24 is creating a whole new experience in facilitating the sale of your car. As someone who has both the pre and post CARS24 car selling experience, CARS24 was a blessing. No more newspaper ads, OLX pesky callers, brokers – I was in control of the selling experience.

So no surprise that it has been a very fast growing company building the market as well as bringing in competition into the category.

We are sharing here, their various campaigns since 2017 to illustrate our argument about emotional versus functional advertising.

CARS24 previous campaigns:

The 2017 campaign, with Boman Irani highlighted how the company was bringing transparency to buying your car. With proper checks of your vehicle and then getting you the right bid.

In 2018, the campaign went in the direction of bringing in more emotional stories, and tying the link between Selling Cars and CARS24 with new brand positioning - 'Car bechni ho, toh Cars24’

The 2019 campaign was again on a more emotional appeal of the brand being sensitive to the personal relationship between a car and its owner.

And now the 2020 advertisement, that brings the lens back to a very functional benefit. Convincing customers on why they actually get the best possible bid for their cars.

So what’s the right way?

While the CARS24 process is very quick, transparent and reliable (they even do the RC transfer), the focus on getting the best prices for cars remains the key theme in the advertising.

The purpose of this short note is just to draw your attention to a key consideration in advertising. If you are building a category, lead on functional benefits for the consumer.

Our thinking is that categories with a large number of competitors, and little measurable differentiation (think Cars or Airlines or Apparel), appealing to emotions appears the best way forward. So too with Colas/ beverages and other such.

The job of advertising here is not to educate the consumer of the benefits of the category, but that among the entire range of options, mostly non-differentiated, why is a particular brand right for you. Mostly it is to explain to the buyer that the brand understands you at a deeper level than the competition. A level which reaches an understanding of what triggers an emotional connect with you. Those connects last longer and are more difficult to shake. But only when the consumer realizes there is no visible relevant difference in the brands on offer.

For categories getting built, the promise has to be functional, and within that the most important function of the category. In the case of second hand cars, the price of the car.

In the case of online education, a job. In the case of taxi rides, convenience. (think Ola and Uber as they built the category).

Here the brand is enticing you to try a new way of doing something you’ve been doing already for a long time. Flipkart discounts. Enticing you to shop online. You always shopped. But not online. But making it cheaper, Flipkart got you thinking deeply and maybe making an inexpensive low risk purchase. And then started to build your habit.

Get the drift?

It’s a simple rule that has seldom gone wrong. Do think about it deeply before you make your next advertising campaign with best in class agencies available on GroCurv.


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