Independent Strawberry Frog has some good news to announce: the rounding out of their client roster with an auto account. Specifically, Mahindra which, while unknown Stateside, is India’s biggest automaker and plans to break into the American market with three models: the Scorpio luxury SUV and a pickup truck offered in both two-door and four-door models.
As Agency Spy reports, all three will use diesel engines…the clean-burning kind that the company says will get 20 to 40 percent better gas mileage than comparable gas engines and will emit fewer greenhouse gases per mile. By 2010, their hybrid will be available, as well.
So they’re right on trend with that.
Strawberry Frog has had success with Mitsubishi International, though it is ironic that their success is with a brand that still faces rumors that it is going to cut and run from the North American market. It is a big win for the Frog, an account that has the opportunity to take them to the next level because Mahindra faces huge obstacles:
Nobody has heard of them before. Even with publicity and star power DeLorean was a flop and established brands like Mitsubishi, Jaguar and Saab struggle, not to mention brands that have been binned like Suzuki and Plymouth and Oldsmobile. with nameplate of so much importance, especially for luxury SUVs, the Frog is going to have to quickly convince consumers to try something new.
The brand is from India. Though foreign carmakers have established themselves in America, it is only recently that they have had even borderline success selling trucks…because trucks are still overwhelmingly bought by heartland Americans who want big engines and big payloads and may have been buying the same brand across generations for over fifty years. And Mahindra is launching with two versions of truck. That run on diesel. The Frog is going to have to find the right consumer for this offering because traditional truck buyers are not the low-hanging fruit.
Neither Mahindra nor India stand for anything. German cars are known for luxury and performance. American trucks and SUVs are known for brawn and power and over-the-top bigness. Japanese cars are tops in terms of reliability. Korean cars are considered an affordable value purchase. Within those national buckets, each of the brands themselves stand for something. Of course, this wasn’t always so, but it is the way the marketplace looks right now. Strawberry Frog isn’t just building the Mahindra brand, it’s building the idea of what India can deliver (whether they want to do that or not). Americans are more than willing to buy foreign cars, they just need a reason why.
All of that said, Strawberry Frog is a fantastic agency with a track record of strategic, creative and above all successful campaigns that build brands and drive results. Mahindra could not have done better with their agency choice.
Count me among those looking forward to the launch campaign.