I have come to admire and respect Fastrack for ‘walking the talk’ when it comes to appealing to the youth. Several brands in India are talking to the youth and in the process, talking down to them. Youngistaan anyone?. Fastrack on the other hand, is conversing with the youth. While my admiration for the brand began with their successful extensions from watches to sunglasses, what is gratifying to see is their consistent and growing use of new media to engage with their audience.
Several things are at play – all working cohesively to ‘up’ the cool quotient with the youth. The use of John Abraham in the biker glasses commercial, striking a chord with the youth in their ‘Move On’ commercial, the use of non-traditional media…all work together. The common trend across all is a tenor of ‘understated cool’. Apart from the ‘How many you have?’ TVCs, their website, Twitter page, Flickr stream and their blog are elements that add to the halo around the brand. No wonder that many consider it a must-have brand.
What works? Firstly, appealing to the youth is not simply about ‘thinking like them’. A bunch of 40-year olds do not automatically speak the language of the youth today. It’s like adults imagining the things that they did when they were kids. Today’s kids play games that we would not dream of. I am reminded of the work done by Clearasil in the US. The payoff was confidence – but the execution was spot on in terms of portraying the way youth are. Secondly, such an effort calls for commitment and a long-term view. For example, paying lip service to token presence on Twitter will not do. One must make the ‘medium’ work for the brand. Thirdly, being in step with the youth. Now that may sound preachy but I would have never thought that portraying a young guy flirting with his friend’s mom is cool – and that’s what an ad in the Clearasil campaign in the US did. Being cool about splitting up and moving on is also a facet of today’s youth.
Kudos to the team for creating a brand that the Indian youth look up to.