The Maruti Suzuki – Autocar Young Driver program is back with Season Five of the endeavor. Launched as a nation-wide search for India’s best young driving talent, Season One of the Young Driver contest saw a total of 3,07,665 online visitors and over 4,000 drivers had competed for entry into the second round. Eventually 35 contestants made it to the Grand Finale. Season Five will span June and July this year to help discover India’s best driving talent.
This year the spotlight for the program is on the Maruti Suzuki Alto as the grand prize is ‘Maruti Suzuki Alto 800’.
The objective clearly is to promote the Alto as the brand on this platform this year. Season One had the A-Star with Zubin Antalia from Mumbai who was crowned Maruti Suzuki – Autocar Young Driver 2009 taking home a brand new Maruti Suzuki A-Star.
The contest is hosted on The Young Driver website, you have to register on the site. It comprises 4 phases:
Phase 1 – Participants who have registered can take the Online Theory Test in the form of a quiz which will test their knowledge of traffic rules, awareness of road safety & driving regulations. Contestants will be selected on the basis of the highest scores in the least time taken for completing the quiz.This phase ends on 28th June 2013. Contestants who make it to the next round will be intimated via e-mail, or notified on Facebook.
Phase 2 – A skill test comprising a Driving Test, at any one of the Maruti Driving Schools (MDS) spread across 42 major Indian cities. Selected contestants can take their skill test at any of the Maruti Driving Schools in their region as per the schedule allocated. Candidates’ performance in the skill tests at the MDS, will help organizers zero in on 25 finalists for the 3rd round. This phase will start on 4th July 2013 and will be held till 28th of July 2013.
Phase 3 – The 25 finalists will be flown in to Delhi for the Grand Finale in which candidates will be evaluated at the Institute of Driving and Traffic Research (IDTR), New Delhi, under the supervision of IDTR instructors and judges from Autocar India. A total of 20 parameters pertaining to safety, vehicle control, theory knowledge and its application while driving will be used to evaluate participants.
Check out the rules and regulations applicable here.
India accounts for about 10 percent of road accident fatalities worldwide. With an alarmingly high accident rate driver education, stringent law enforcement measures and better infrastructure are indeed the need of the hour. Maruti Suzuki and Autocar India have jointly launched this endeavor to make Indian roads a safer place through the Maruti Suzuki – Autocar Young Driver 2013 programme.
As an automobile company this is a very responsible move by Maruti Suzuki besides being an excellent promotional platform for its various brands since it started the program in 2009. The contest website is comprehensive and informative. Registration is simple and rules are clearly explained.
The campaign has good online and offline integration with a website and the driving test.
Scope for Improvement:
A cursory search online did not throw up much buzz about the contest on either Facebook or Twitter. A few blogs and news sites have covered the story but the buzz on social media seems to be missing. Being an event initiated by a big player in the Indian automobile sector, there is no noise about it on Twitter. The only page I came across on Facebook had updates up to the Autocar Young Driver 2011. And only cross posting on Facebook was here.
There is not much interest or talk about the event on Autocarindiamag, Facebook as well.
The campaign if handled and integrated properly across social media platforms could have gone viral. But the brand has failed to capitalize on the social media tools and platforms available to have done so. A dedicated app or a twitter campaign would have helped in generating some more buzz.
It is still not too late to set things in motion on social media for this year’s contest. Perhaps advertising on television might also help garner greater response.
In the end the Maruti Suzuki – Autocar Young Driver program is in keeping with Maruti Suzuki’s brand philosophy. As the people’s brand it is actively working to promote safe driving among Indian youth and as such the campaign gets a big thumbs up for being consistent in its approach and showcasing one car brand every year without going overboard. Perhaps it could have created more buzz on the social space.