Yeh Bullet meri jaan

Royal Enfield has launched a new campaign for Bullet, called #MyBullet. There are 3 films were developed by Royal Enfield’s in-house team in collaboration with Sartaj Jaffri from Black or White Brand Communications. All 3 films are directed by Aloke Shetty.

I do have a larger crib about Hindi being the primary form of expression, forced to connect all of India. In one of the 3 films where a doctor is shown, it is clearly Kerala (TV announcement, the elephant mural on the wall, the vehicle registration etc.), and I’m glad that they chose to root/place that ad in Kerala.

Why should they do this? I mean, why not place the same story in say, Uttar Pradesh? Or Madhya Pradesh? The answer is, of course, diversity. They wanted Malayalees to relate to the ad., obviously. If that was the intent, is it fine to assume that the overall expression of the ad in Hindi, a language Malayalees may very well know and understand merely for transactional purposes, be appropriate for the ‘local’ connect? I don’t think so, though I fully understand why the in-house team may have done this – ease of production in one language that happens to be ‘most-spoken’ in the country. In the process, if some states do not emotionally resonate to it, so be it.

I do hope Royal Enfield considers a Malayalam+English version of this particular film. Imagine how much more enthusiastically Malayalees everywhere would be sharing the ad if it was in Malayalam! That’d be people becoming Royal Enfield’s media channel, beyond the brand itself pushing it across mainstream media channels for a fee. A well-produced, well-articulated ad film in a regional language is perhaps the best emotional button worth pushing in India.

Ditto for the Punjab-centered film. One easy, money-saving and time-saving assumption is that most Punjabis anyway understand Hindi, so why go the extra mile? I fully understand that compromise. But consider the potential if there was a Punjabi version too. And how much more expensive is it to produce one.

I loved the 3rd film. It shows a woman walking towards her Bullet and literally commands the men to move away, with her eyes. In the advertising world, they move away, after a brief surprise.

Even in the film world, nobody has a problem. Remember Rinku Rajguru, the actress who played Archie in the Marathi film, Sairat? She drives a Royal Enfield Bullet in the film, as per her character’s nature.

Ironically, real life is anything but this smooth.

The Royal Enfield campaign was launched on September 5th. The news from the next day was, “Girl rides Bullet, some male egos are hurt, threats and police case follow“.

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