Will New Agency Engagement Give Mitsubishi an Edge?

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    Raheem Akingbolu

    The competition in Nigeria’s auto market may take a new leaning soon as players are beginning to re-strategise to increase market share. From Hyundai to Toyota, Honda to KIA brand, the story is the same – repositioning to win consumer loyalty.

    In a fresh development to unsettle the market, another competitor, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, is set to boost its market acceptability in line with its ongoing global strategy for repositioning. Barely a year after it selected Amsterdam Worldwide as its lead global brand agency without a review, the auto brand has appointed SO&U, a leading full service creative agency in Nigeria to reposition the Japanese brand in Nigeria. According to a source at Massilia Motors Limited, representative of Mitsubishi Motors in Nigeria, SO&U clinched the account after participating in a pitch recently organised by the company among some top creative agencies in the country.

    Meanwhile, the Amsterdam-based agency that oversees the global account, with offices in Paris and Berlin, was tapped for a confidential brief over a year ago to develop and propose a new brand strategy. Mitsubishi introduced that strategy, “Ambition to Explore,” at the Tokyo Motor Show and creative from Amsterdam Worldwide centering around the tagline “Drive Your Ambition” also debuted at the event before it was rolled out globally.

    With the new assignment, SO&U and its team of creative eggheads are expected to work and justify the various tagline of the brand in the Nigerian market. The taglines are; Wake up and drive; Driven to thrill; Love that car; Pursuing the Origins of Car Engineering.

    The agency is also expected to position the brand to the main target market; the young executives from the upper-middle income bracket. Above all, the Nigerian agency is as well expected to sustain the global creative tempo of the Mitsubishi brand, which makes it one of the most popular brands in the automobile industry with excellent advertising and brand presence.

    From any angle one chooses to look at it, SO&U is not new to the terrain, given its exploits on top brands like Guaranty Trust Bank, Guinness Nigeria, Procter & Gamble and many others.

    As a well grounded agency with full understanding of the market, it is expected that the agency will reposition the brand and make it Nigeria’s delight. Among other successful campaigns, the agency has continued to enjoy commendation for its work on the GTBank brand and ‘My Friend Udeme’ a campaign that was conceptualised for Guinness few years ago, which resonated with consumers almost immediately.

    For SO&U, the journey began few months ago, when Massilia Motors Limited, thrown open the pitch to agencies as part of its plan to further project the image of Mitsubishi vehicles, including popular Pajero in the market.

    After presentations and evaluations by various agencies, Udeme Ufot-led SO&U marketing approaches and its 360 execution plan, was said to have impressed the management of Massilia Motors Limited and therefore settled for the agency. Some of the platforms to explore are; TVCs, Print, Out-of-Home and Digital marketing.

    Massilia Motors Limited, established early last year, is a joint venture between CFAO and KewalramChanrai Group. In the past, Mitsubishi brands were marketed by the two distributors – CFAO and Kewalrams, which created challenges on how to create a common ground to nurture the brand and make it very attractive to its target market. The two companies resolved this challenge by coming together to form Massilia as sole distributor of Mitsubishi vehicles in Nigeria.

    With the complete range of Mitsubishi Motors vehicles now available in Nigeria with compact cars, sports utility vehicles and pick-up trucks with renowned models such as the Pajero or L200, handlers of the brand appear to be more confident and determined to increase market share in Nigeria.

    Known for the reliability and ruggedness of its products, the Japanese car manufacturer has indicated through many platforms that it aims at exceeding customers’ expectations through skilled technicians, expansion of its authorised dealer network and provision of service centres nationwide.

    Reacting to the new deal, the Executive Director, Brand Management, SO&U, Mr. Biodun Adefila, confirmed the business and promised to redefine the status of the brand in the market.

    On the way to perceive the brand in the years ahead, she urged patrons of the brand in this part of the world to be on the look-out for a definite change in the way they perceive and have related with Mitsubishi brands thus far. According to her, the Mitsubishi brands have a lot of advantages when compared with others, pointing out that not much of these great stories about the Mitsubishi were coming out in the past.

    “As a new agency on the brand, the task before us is to pick up the exciting stories of performance, ruggedness, durability, attractiveness and dependability about Mitsubishi and build new personae for it. Let people know that here is an absolutely reliable and beautiful vehicle and very importantly, the pricing is unbelievable,” she said.

    Speaking on how SO&U won the multimillion naira account, Adefila emphasised the fact that the agency has the clear understanding of the brief as well as familiar with local and global trend in the automobile industry.

    While pointing out that the agency’s victory in the pitch has further shored up its profile, the executive director revealed that the creative firm won the account by evaluating the position of the brand in the market by the current users of the brand, those who like it, those who have heard about it and experts in the auto industry.

    “We got all the data, but the clincher was how we interpreted the data and information to become authentic insight. Even the presentation demonstrated the passion and excitement we felt about the brand. We didn’t just present. We delivered the message,” she said

    As things are, the stage appears set for stiff competition among auto brands in the market. The next few months will surely dictate who will win the game among the top players.