Avik’s blog : Beyond the comfort zone

Avik’s blog : Beyond the comfort zone

Team Fast Bikes

I was in Udaipur a few months back, to be at an agri-technology exposition. Taking some time off one afternoon, I drove down to the City Palace to meet a young and energetic friend of mine, Himanshu Jangid. Himanshu has created a unique platform for automobile art called Cartist. Based in Jaipur, for the last three years Cartist has been organising a week-long festival in that city that brings in close to 150 artists from across the country converge on to the festival venue to create paintings, sculptures, installations and gadgets live in front of hundreds of school children and commoners of the Pink City. This year Himanshu has planned a Cartist Yatra, a moving caravan that traverses the country over four months, connecting with millions of people, bringing together and showcasing local artists who create automobile art, live and on the move. At the time of writing this piece, the yatra had reached Pune, covering Jaipur, Udaipur, Ahmedabad and Mumbai. A truly commendable mission being undertaken by a man who truly loves both automobile and art and wants the platform to build a community that appreciates, collect and encourage automobile art.

Unfortunately, he has no sponsor for the yatra! Consequently, he has dipped into his own resources and ensure the yatra happens.

He has approached many large organisations, mostly in the automotive field for support but has gone through a torrid time. While he should have been devoting all his time planning for the yatra, he had to invest hundreds of hours in convincing organisations why partnering with him would do good for their brands. Most did not understand. Some were thoroughly unprofessional in initially offering help but pulling out at the last moment. Fortunately, a few good souls like Bharat-Benz, Indian Oil, Camlin Kokuyo and FADA have come forward to help him. SIAM has also decided to promote the yatra and have the Auto Expo 2018 as one of its stops.

Why such apathy? Why such inability to see and support a disruptive initiative? Why does all marketing money have to get into banal television ads and sponsoring Bollywood events or reality shows? I would have expected the two-wheeler industry to have got enthused by the sheer novelty and potential in such an activity and financially supported it. Especially the scooter brands like Hero, Honda, Piaggio, Yamaha and TVS. Each could have done something specific in their home cities as supporting the cause. At the festivals, artists have done amazing transformations to old scooters, as the pictures show!

There was a time when scooter brands had sheer attitude. They raced. They set trends. They sent hearts afire. They communicated the same. Today they play second fiddle to motorcycles. They lack clear personality. They communicate without any inherent conviction in their own prowess. They are largely “commuter” in spite of the large numbers they sell. Sad, but true.

I request the scooter makers to look beyond the obvious when it comes to brand engagement and marketing. Get out of your comfort zones of Bollywood, cricket and reality television and support and encourage some of the truly disruptive and progressive initiatives like Cartist Yatra. Supporting one will encourage others to take a step forward and that will give the scooter a distinct and definitive personality of its own.

Fast Bikes India