Ghee khao desi, aur chalao Massey

I recently stumbled on a post on LinkedIn about Akshay Kumar being signed as a brand ambassador for the Massey Ferguson brand of tractors.

Now, I have always been fascinated by tractors, like the fascination for earthmovers that has recently become very vocal on social media recently 🙂 And I have always eyed the Massey Ferguson brand name with special interest – I have gone on researching the brand name more than once.

My first thought, when I saw the new Massey Ferguson ad featuring Akshay is that he was associated with a similar brand very recently and very visibly. After Googling I figured it – he was the brand ambassador for Tata Motors’ commercial vehicle range. I wonder if there may be a possible confusion in the minds of rural audiences, since both brands (though with different vehicles/products) are targeted at them in high-decibel rural marketing (like Ajay Devgn for Mahindra’s commercial vehicles).

It is a great positioning, though, given Akshay’s image as a rough and tough star in many of his films.

The ad itself (I couldn’t find the agency that created it) is simple and effective – explores the many USPs of the tractor in a straight-forward, movie-like script. I could imagine it working it mighty well for rural audiences.

Interestingly, towards the end, Akshay pontificates broadly at the villagers: ‘Ghee khao desi aur chalao Massey’. I understand the rhyme, but it also seems to allude Massey Ferguson as a desi brand which it clearly is not (I guess Mahindra tractors could claim that a lot more confidently). Massey Ferguson is an American brand for which TAFE has the rights to use, along with other tractor brands like TAFE, IMT and Eicher.

Besides this ad, a broader thought on Massey Ferguson. I have always wondered if it makes sense to ‘use’ the toughness the brand stands for, into other areas that could benefit from it. Just like how Caterpillar has licensed the ‘Cat’ brand and logo to select manufacturers to produce Cat-branded clothing, footwear, hats etc.

I understand TAFE may not be able to do that since they perhaps own the brand only to produce tractors. But the brand’s extension, with Caterpillar as a forerunner, could be an interesting extension to expand its audiences to a completely different segment of people away from its rural stronghold. It’s not as if we do not see the Massey Ferguson brand even in our cities – I have seen it often and have always admired the brand name. Just like how we seem fascinated with JCB for its tough and sturdy equipment, the use of Massey Ferguson brand to produce products that need to be known for durability and strength, like shoes, luggage or even smartphone covers!

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