Hoodibabaa! The story behind Bajaj Caliber's TVC

You must have seen the Bajaj Caliber 115 TV commercial and must have heard children (and even young-at-heart adults) mouthing the catchy word "Hoodibabaa" quite often! Here is the story of the thought process that went into the launch of the Bajaj Caliber 115 Hoodibaba TV commercial.

Flashback - June 1998

Bajaj Auto launches the next big thing to hit the Indian motorcycle market - the Caliber. The four-stroke motorcycle was launched in the emerging (at that point of time) but rapidly growing "executive" segment.

In order to overcome stiff competition from strong brands, as Hero Honda's Splendor, it was positioned as a 'resolute bike for a resolute rider'. This emotional route for communication - coupled with the actual product superiority over Splendor worked wonders for the brand.

Caliber became the first Indian motorcycle to clock sales over 100,000 bikes within the first year of its launch. This positioning was successfully carried through three commercials over a four-year period, each showing the Caliber rider facing a different situation. As a result, it acquired the image of a highly respected brand. A bike that is big, powerful and most stable in its category.

And then came the fall …and Caliber Croma

Owing largely to product failures, Caliber's share in the Indian market began to dip drastically - with a drop of 17 per cent over the 2000-01 period.

To maintain sales, prices were dropped and a new variant of the bike called Caliber Croma was launched in July 2001. Caliber Croma was basically the old Caliber with new decals and most importantly, disk brakes, which was the prime focus of all communication. Again, sales began to surge but soon stagnated again.

Jumpstart - March 2003

The "executive segment" is now the largest and most dynamic automobile segment in India. The previous market leader Splendor stills rules the roost along with Hero Honda's other new offering - Passion that is positioned on its superior style platform.

Another new entry from TVS Motor Co, the Victor is fast emerging as a force to reckon with - thanks to its association with brand ambassador, Sachin Tendulkar. Caliber, along with Caliber Croma, at this point makes up only eight per cent of this segment, which boasts more than 100,000 bike sales a month.

Hence, Bajaj Auto went back to the drawing board on Caliber. Given its strong equity, it was a matter of updating the looks of the bike to suit current tastes. The engine was souped up to 111.6 cc, while maintaining maximum mileage of 90 kmpl. In short, the new Caliber 115 is by far the best bike in the segment.

Now, comes the most difficult part … How do you break the tremendous clutter in this market and showcase the Caliber 115 - leverage all aspects of the awesome bike it is? What communication route will project the bike as bigger than the sum of its parts?

An overview of the communication and advertising coming out of this segment makes one thing abundantly clear: All the advertising is purely functional in the sense; that it touts a certain product feature(s) of the bike. The challenge here was to create a separate 'social' segment or a 'senior executive' segment for Caliber 115. One that clearly defines the bike as high value offering and as a result separates it from its competition that are largely viewed as sensible choices.

We had to create a religion; needed to create pathbreaking communication for a bike that has so many innovative features. We needed to incorporate elements that the whole "product package" offers its owner - a variety of benefits and delights beyond the consumer's wildest imagination. Every facet of the bike is geared towards ensuring that "you get the most from life and yourself".

In short - we need to say that the Caliber 115 is 'Indescribably Brilliant'!

What would be the most interesting and catchy way to say that? A line that would evolve into a catchphrase on the tip of every Indian's tongue, while communicating every thing that the Caliber 115 stands for - maximum power, greatest displacement, maximum mileage and a bevy of exciting features.


In order to provide some emotional resonance to the communication, the highly unique and yet motoring related bonding between a father and his son was used.

Hence, all communication for Caliber 115 is built on this relationship and the way rider is always a hero to his son thanks to his bike. Add to this, the catchiest advertising jingle to come out of India in a while; and we have a definite winner.

The first month response to the campaign has been astounding; with curiosity around the bike building up. As hoped, 'Hoodibabaa' has now become a catchphrase in offices, schools and homes everywhere. Most satisfyingly, Caliber 115 has already clocked sales of 22,000 in its launch month with expectations of an increase in this figure in the coming months. … Hoodibabaa!

By the Lowe Creative Team

(The views expressed here are those of the Lowe creative team and need not necessarily subscribe to them).

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