Brand Saga: A 'Carvaan' of ads that personified a ‘music player’

Sneha Yadav
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Saregama Carvaan advertising journey

Not just a music player, but an emotion - that’s how Saregama Carvaan ads described it and they did it well. As we usher into the season of gifting, we visit the Saregama Carvaan advertising journey that aimed at making it the go to gift in India.

‘Mein Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhata Chala gaya…’ In the 90s while I cried to watch my favorite cartoons on TV on Sunday mornings, my parents turned to Rangoli on Doordarshan or switched on the radio to listen to the Kishore Kumar melodies. Soon mobile phones gushed in.  The era of Radio and old music started fading as pop culture became a rage.

It’s May 2017!

However, like they say ‘Old is Gold’, the charm of listening to music over the radio acting as our companion still persisted. Taking cues from this insight, Music label giant Saregama created a classical radio transistor with a contemporized touch and digital plug-in in May 2017.

Touted as the global first, a portable digital audio player with in-built stereo speakers and 5000 evergreen Hindi songs inside, Saregama branded it as Carvaan - a device that combines the best of digital technology with the convenience and ease of use of a physical form factor.

As per the company, the 5000 songs available on Carvaan were handpicked using big data and categorized based on singers, lyricists, music composers, moods, etc. Each category can be selected by turning a jog-dial. So literally, with a simple turn of a knob, one can switch from Kishore Kumar classics to R.D Burman’s pulsating hits, to timeless love songs, or to soulful Sufi tracks – all in their original versions, back-to-back without any ads.

With the option to tune into FM Radio, Carvaan doubles up as a home radio too. It’s possible to enjoy one's personal collection of songs by plugging in a USB drive or streaming songs from a phone to Carvaan via Bluetooth. It works on a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 5 hours.

Saregama Carvaan Advertising Journey

Since its inception, Saregama Carvaan teamed up with its creative agency The Womb to open the door of nostalgia through the device. In May 2017 the company rolled out a demo film to showcase the distinct features and a guide to using Carvaan in English and Hindi.

During the festive season of  November 2017, for the first of its kind, Saregama rolled out a brand film 5 minutes long narrating the life story of a couple who decide to walk every step together while the songs witnessed them grow old.

Also Read: Brand Saga: A tale for every occasion – Amazon India’s storytelling legacy

The campaign, conceptualized by The Womb and helmed by Amit Sharma of Chrome Pictures, affirmed that nothing can compare to the experience of owning a Saregama Carvaan and walking down the memory lane with these evergreen songs. It served as a reflection of the strong emotions that people have been connecting with this unique and perfect gift - Saregama Carvaan.

Further in May 2018, Saregama in collaboration with The Womb launched the first TV campaign for the portable digital audio player. The campaign featured different mother-child relationships across three television spots and a common theme where all of them bring alive the joy, the elderly recipients feel when they receive Carvaan as a gift from their children.

The brand objective through the campaign was to target the young as essential buyers who will purchase the product as a gift for their parents and seniors, who are its primary users. On occasions such as Diwali, New Year, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day – the company placed it as an essential gift for your loved ones that also evoked several emotions.

Carvaan sold a million units in just 18 months after its launch. The company was receiving a great response with a significant number of devices being sold and was focused on distribution penetration.

With strong demand, the communication was now more skewed towards spreading nationwide awareness for the product and the relief that is offered for a generation that up till now craved for the kind of solace Carvaan offered. For them, it brought back that era and its charm that was lost in modern culture.

The brand roped in celebrities to showcase their love for Carvaan and reach a wider consumer base through its marketing and on-ground promotions. On occasions like Valentine's Day and festivities, Saregama rolled out TVCs to celebrate the happenings and urged the followers to deliver a perfect gift ‘Carvaan’ to their elderly.

In December 2018, the company launched a premium variant of Saregama Carvaan, which was accompanied by a companion app available for both iOS and Android. The companion app lets users connect their smartphones to the Carvaan Premium and choose the song they want to hear. The new companion app was an addition to how the user can control the music system, instead of using the jog dials on the device.

In addition to the 80+ stations, the Carvaan Premium also came with over 50 new stations dedicated to actors and actresses like Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan. Additionally, Carvaan Premium also came with support for AM Radio and a 3.5mm audio input jack.

During Diwali in October 2018, came one of the several gems created by the company - ‘Iss Diwali- Shor Ya Sangeet’. Having The Womb by its side and Prakash Varma of Nirvana Films directing the ad film, Saregama Carvaan hit the right notes with the digital campaign by presenting a story often untold.

Carvaan is about music and Diwali has been associated with noise- that ends up hurting or causing harm to many innocent souls. The commercial presented two conflicting points of view and attached human sentiments to the happenings which made it an instant hit among the viewers.

Leveraging young and veteran popular personalities as endorsers for its product, Saregama Carvaan went on to launch many variants as Carvaan Gold, Saregama Carvaan  Go, Carvaan Mini, and Saregama 2.0 on its way, each variant upgraded with suitable features received through consumer feedback, research, and insights.

Citing regional influence and the impact of vernacular languages, the brand also launched a variant catering to the main languages of India including Tamil, Punjabi, Telugu, Malayalam, and more. To further intensify awareness around the devices, it rolled out TVCs to communicate the core differentiation.

In between product-specific advertising, Saregama Carvaan ensured to connect the brand with its consumers on a humane level and make Carvaan an essential part of their lives. With films like ‘Papa Ke Liye Unki Yaadon Ka Carvaan’, the company aimed to make string connections and everlasting bonds with people transcending any boundaries of age or gender, or religion.

The Saregama Carvaan advertising journey positioned it as a precious gift that will take your mother, father or elderly loved one on a nostalgic trip to their heydays, youth, and the pure joy of rediscovering the same through music.  It was also about realizing that the next generation won’t grow up alien to the experience of enjoying music the good old way, as per the company.

After high on emotion and tear-jerker campaigns like ‘Aap ke Pehle Pyaar ke Liye, Aap ki Ma ke Liye’, ‘Is Diwali Aap Kya Sunnena Chahenge Shor ya Sangeet’, ‘Jinhe Aap Kabhi Keh Nahi Paaye Unhe Kahiye Thank You’, In August 2019, the company roped in actor Gajraj Rao to launch a series of 7 films that focused particularly on the product and the magical moments it can create every day with its music.

The TVC #KyaHaiIsme aimed at highlighting Carvaan and its features in the simplest manner and making it the perfect gift for Diwali, thus highlighting the core thought that formed the base for the Saregama Carvaan advertising journey.

When the pandemic-induced lockdown grappled the country in 2020, Saregama Carvaan collaborated with celebrity influencers on the occasion of Father’s Day who grooved to the tunes of Carvaan while staying back at home and enjoying the little moments of life with their loved ones.

It also rolled out a digital campaign focused on the elderly titled Jo Abhi Bahar Nahi Ja Sakte Unke Liye Ghar Le Aaye – Saregama Carvaan. Amid the unprecedented COVID-19 challenges, the Saregama campaign highlighted the importance of entertainment in the life of elderly persons and how powerful the music can be for them to sail through the crisis.

After celebrating Raksha Bandhan with a brand film for the festival, Saregama announced the launch of Carvaan Mini Kids and Karaoke variants of the product in the market, each carrying their unique proposition.

The Karaoke launch was supported by an influencer and UGC campaign showcasing how consumers – young and old- can't get enough of the product and couldn’t be stopped from singing along with it.

The brand’s latest ad ‘Ye Diwali MusicWaali’ associated kaju katli, fuljhadi and patakhas to evergreen songs of Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Rafi Saab, and more set the tone for the festival of gifting.

Digital Play

Saregama Carvaan has followed an integrated media approach with a significant focus on the digital medium. Traditional channels like TV, radio, and OOH is been leveraged for garnering product-specific reach and spreading awareness, digital marketing skewed towards the youth is been optimized to complement the traditional marketing efforts and drive online sales.

With influencer ad content marketing at the core supported by topical creatives and moment marketing initiatives, Carvaan has amassed a loyal following through its digital presence. However, Saregama Carvaan doesn't possess a specific social media handle of its own but is represented by the parent company on social.

All this while, the communication brief has been constant- it was about positioning Carvaan as a gift that to that today’s generation can give to their parents and other elders in the family. The Saregama Carvaan advertising journey not only strengthened its brand image but also made a bond so strong to celebrate each day while the music fumes out of the device helping us escape from the mundane.

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