It was bound to happen, am surprised it took this long though. 4 years ago, you wanted a motorcycle (bike), your options were the ever-dependable (read boring to some) Hero Honda Splendor; the solidly ‘unshakeable’ Bajaj Caliber, the undermarketed but excellent Suzuki Fiero or the Yamaha line, that had lost a lot its sex appeal once they discontinued the sensational RX100. Of course, there was the Bullet, but then you had to have testosterone oozing out of your ears to get on that one or so it seemed.
Before moving on, try naming 5 bikes in the market today(brands, not just manufacturers)…see…had a hard time? I for one only had silly images of nerds on brooms and unshaven louts stuck on top of mountains with pigeons crapping on their shoulder (ok myabe it was an eagle). After slicing and super-slicing each segment down to “that segment that’s 18 years and 4 months old, prefers wheat bread over white and is a virgin” and accordingly launching and positioning new bikes, and also following it up with that bike for “the 19 yr old male who’s just shaved off his goatee and got himself a girlfriend”, major 2-wheeler anufacturers in India seem to’ve realised its a lost cause. At the end of the day, its a 2-wheeled contraption powered by a puny engine that gets people from point A to point B. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been in Harley country and to a grizzled and tattooed rider, his Heritage Soft-tail classic is more kin than a mode of transport. But theres only so much you can do to dress up that same 100cc engine.
Finally, these manufacturers have looked at that untapped market of the female rider. Hence the Hero Honda Pleasure, Bajaj Wave and the TVS Scooty Pepplus. These aren’t the dinky l’il mopeds that were l’il more than battery-powered bicycles. All the above are 90CC and above, meaning almost as powerful as the average bike. Its the catch-lines that seem to almost challenge the male of the species thats interesting. The Pleasure commercial goes with a background score that goes “Why should boys have all the fun?”. Various scenes of women of different ages (no slicing and dicing here) enjoying their mobility. Great idea, but then it ends with a scene that leaves noone in doubt about the sex of the person who directed the commercial.
The scene…Pretty woman standing on the kerb, a dude type character in a convertible brakes next to her and offers a ride. She smiles sweetly and at the same time her equally pretty friend rounds the corner on a ‘Pleasure’ (funny choice of name) and lady 1 hops on. They both give the guy smiles and zoom off. Two issues: a) why’d the ladies look a l’il too cozy sitting on their ride…and the smile suggested they don’t ‘need’ the guy? are we there yet? (b) in case anyone noticed, the guy was driving a porsche cabriolet…err..nothing significant except by what it costs, u can probably get about a 100 odd of those dinky scooters. So, now that girls have finally made it to riding not-so-underpowered rides, guys are already that far ahead?
Just observations about the commercial itself…idea was right…but the implementation?