This month, MTV India partnered with Tata Nano to launch India’s first social road trip. What is a social road trip?
A social road trip is where the participants travel to different destinations and the entire experience is covered online through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other platforms. In short, it is like an online reality show.
When MTV launched this campaign with Tata Nano, there were quite a few eyebrows raised. Some questioned Tata Nano’s capability to do road trips while some others compared the campaign idea to other brand campaigns.
We asked Ekalavya Bhattacharya, Digital Head MTV India, what the objective of the campaign was
“The objectives of Drive with MTV were to get together a bunch of young people from across the country and send them out on an enjoyable road trip. We wanted to change the idea of a reality show from a hardcore challenging game with politics and fights and “juicy” content to a reality show with real people having real fun in the real world.
We wanted to detach the idea of ‘city car’ from the Nano and realign viewer perception to turn the Nano into a feasible road trip car that can do thousands of kilometers comfortably.”
So that was the logic behind teaming up with Tata Nano. For those who don’t know, this is not the first time that Tata Nano has run a campaign to realign the positioning of the car from a strictly city based car to a feasible road trip car. Earlier, Tata Nano had launched a campaign called Superdrive, which involved sending niche travel bloggers on a trip across the country.
The social angle given to this campaign by MTV takes the whole experience of an online reality show to a new level. The concept was a modified version of previously tried and tested campaigns.
Eklavya Bhattacharya states
“It’s not only the idea that we were bullish about, many have attempted something similar, but the execution was something which really excited us. How often do you get the opportunity to take something groundbreaking and help push it a notch higher?
Live shooting, editing and uploading on the go is not something you would have seen too often.We took the idea of a digital show to a completely new level.
We are sure a lot of parties will attempt something similar to this and Drive with MTV will be their benchmark.”
Being the first social road trip, the path must have been filled with challenges.
Eklavya Bhattacharya points out
“The challenges we faced ranged from technical factors to on-ground randomness. Figuring out how to streamline all social media content into the website was our first challenge. Selecting the routes was another major challenge. We had to make routes of similar distance and topography to keep the game fair, all the while keeping in mind the availability of service stations, petrol pumps, activities for the teams, and most importantly, quality of the content. This was difficult, as geographical differences in different zones of the country had vast discrepancies in road quality, topography and development, but with some solid research and a good deal of reconnaissance, we got a decent set of routes in place that balanced out time/distance and served their scenic role in the campaign.
On ground challenges included unexpected stuff like petrol shortage in the south, all India bandh, a team losing their keys and such, which were worked out on the fly.
The campaign was a 21 day road trip for 4 teams traveling in their Tata Nano touring 4 different country zones. The team had to travel on a pre-determined route on a budget of Rs 4000 a day, inclusive of all expenses.
While on the road, the teams had to share their experience online and gain support of the audience through their Facebook likes, comments and tweets.
Being a social campaign, its success largely depended on how it performed with the audience online and how the audience reacted to it. We asked Eklavya Bhattacharya to share some insights.
“Facebook saw an organic growth of 141,000 fans. Our daily schedule on the page was 6-10 posts, 1 video from each team and a photo album (12 photos) from each team. The Tata Nano page too shared all the photographs and most of the videos. Each photo had more than 100 likes.
On Twitter, #NanoNorth and #NanoEast trended nationally while #NanoSouth trended in Chennai. The total tweet count, including retweets was 147,532.
4 videos were created every day and uploaded on YouTube. At the end of the campaign, approximately 90 videos were created.”
Most brands running a campaign will stick to limited content on their accounts; say 4 updates a day and 20 tweets. They have never heard of “Content is King.”
The user generated content in this campaign was a good mix of updates, videos and visuals, just enough to keep the audience engaged for a long time.
In this particular scenario, the content created on the go was commendable and highly presentable.
Content execution definitely deserves applause.
In my previous article on the same campaign, I stated that the idea was exciting although not unique. 5 other brands could use the same idea. The question we must ask here is, Is everyone happy with the results?
MTV India took a clichéd concept, added some creative thoughts, remolded the whole thing and a social road trip was born. Given the brand name, I am not surprised it worked. The target audience was 18-24 and that is what majority of MTV audience is. The campaign too was created around the same participants. The elements of travel, fun, challenges and socializing took it to the new level. The page Drive with MTV has 141K fans and the interaction on the page is staggering. The content is well executed and of high quality. Digitally, it’s a victory for MTV India.
At some point, trolling Tata Nano has to stop. Yes, they were involved in controversies that we would just not let go. Yes, they positioned themselves as a family car. And yes, they proved that Tata Nano can be as good on road too. This campaign was Tata Nano’s third attempt at proving themselves as a successful model for road trips after Superdrive and Superdrive 2 campaigns. This one though has definitely been the most successful of the three campaigns. I would not be surprised to see Drive with MTV season 2.
The participants benefited the most. The teams visited unseen places, enjoyed local food, and connected with numerous people. Eklavya Bhattacharya gives us more insights -
“One organic factor that we ourselves did not anticipate was social involvement to an interpersonal level, where teams would tweet where they’re heading to, and by the time they got there, they were already invited for meals and stay-overs by people living in those cities. In smaller places with no internet proliferation, the teams met up with locals and got invited for meals at their homes.
The East team had a small concert in a pub in Kolkata, where one member performed. This concert came about with the team getting in touch with the pub owner on twitter. Towards the end of the trip, they even made a social media song.
The North team composed a couple of songs through the drive as well.
Besides all this fun stuff, the teams had activities like eating a six foot dosa, rafting, paragliding and other such activities.”
The social angle seems to have worked well in this campaign and a lot of credit goes to the teams executing content and the participants who engaged with the audience regularly.
So what next for MTV India?
Eklavya Bhattacharya concludes -
“You’ll see a lot more in the social digital space with a clear focus on content. Brands want content to engage their fans; we’ll provide them that and a lot more. Hopefully soon we will see the 2nd season of Nano Drive with MTV.”