Do you like Bajaj Pulsar? Well, I do. It is an excellent vehicle that changed the Indian bike market in a big way. Their 150cc and 180cc offerings were game changers in early 2000s. These bikes captured the imagination of youth. I was reading an interview with Rajiv Bajaj where he mentioned that they are treating Pulsar as a separate brand within Bajaj motorcycles, which serves well with the way that bike is built and the changing tastes of the customers it targets.
But where Bajaj Auto is bad is the reckless advertisements that they use to promote the Pulsar family of bikes. Last year they had a Pulsar TV ad where bikers were performing daredevil stunts in real city streets. That ad was heavily criticized for its positive portrayal of reckless driving. You can refer to this economic times for more details.
Just when we thought they learnt some lessons from that tragic campaign, Bajaj Automobiles changed their tactic this year by using a fake city but with same reckless driving portrayal. They call this campaign Pulsar City!
I personally find it sad that responsible companies like Bajaj Automobiles are indulging in such negative tactics to attract youth. This is the same company that had a beautiful tag line “Buland Bharat ki Buland Tasveer, Humaara Bajaj” for decades. We still remember those visuals behind which this song used to play. It is tragic that they are now choosing to go to the other extreme when it comes to advertising their products. Targeting youth does not necessarily mean that they have to use reckless and unrealistic demos of the bike. Automobile companies are supposed to be the torch bearers of road safety, especially in a country like India with really high number of road fatalities.
As responsible citizens, we must raise our voices against such advertisements. Not just in case of Bajaj Auto, any other brand as well. You can log a complaint with I&B Ministry at Central Government grievance site. This Ministry then forwards your complaint to Advertising Standards Council of India. You can also file a complaint with ASCI directly in their Website and WhatsApp number. ASCI is a voluntary industry body that processes citizen complaints on advertisements and advises the culprit companies to take action. In case of Pulsar City, they have now responded that Bajaj Pulsar City campaign has already received multiple complaints. Probably, Bajaj will be on the hall of shame this year as well. Interesting that Yamaha is in that list published earlier in April 2018. Please refer to ASCI 2018 April recommendations.
If you think an advertisement (print or electronic) is in really bad taste, please speak up. Contact ASCI and they will channelize your concerns to the companies which are putting up those misleading ads.
If you need any help in filing complaints or general questions on the process, please leave a comment below or Tweet me @VijayIvaturi.