In a realm of iconic marketing campaigns, the presence of motorcycle brands is rather scarce. This scarcity is partly due to the nature of the industry and partly dependent on the brand's marketing mindset. Yamaha, a familiar name in the industry, continuously strives for excellence in its communication strategies. Notably, Yamaha Janus' campaign in late 2017 achieved remarkable success, both in brand recognition and sales, unsettling competitors.
The Vietnamese motorcycle market, the fourth-largest globally with over 2.3 million units, is primarily dominated by Yamaha and Honda, accounting for 95% (Vietnam Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers - VAMM). While Yamaha was still significantly behind Honda in market share, its growth in both communication and sales throughout 2017 made competitors cautious.
Notably, in Q3 2016, Yamaha introduced the Janus, a direct competitor to Honda's Vision scooter. Janus targeted the Vietnamese market with a youthful, dynamic approach, backed by technological advantages like the Blue Core engine for fuel efficiency and fashionable design options. Yamaha Janus made waves in the market.
Unlike broader customer targeting by other brands, Yamaha's customer profile is distinct. Janus catered to individuals with unique characteristics, particularly female students who valued fashion, beauty, and idolized distinctive styles. These young women, at the dawn of adulthood, sought a mode of transportation that resonated with their personalities. While competitors' products might have seemed suitable for everyone, they didn't fulfill the specific desires of this demographic. Janus, with its strong character, became their preferred choice, akin to how they avidly read romance novels, captivated and engrossed.
Building upon Yamaha's core values of fashion and catering to their target customers, Yamaha delved into describing the vibrant lifestyle of students, focusing more on lifestyle than product features. Simultaneously, to captivate potential customers instantly, the campaign needed to align with current youth trends. A prominent trend was music videos with subtle product placements.
The key challenge was to seamlessly integrate the product into the content. The campaign required an intricate blend of music and imagery, which proved to be a significant hurdle that the brand had to overcome skillfully.
Crafting an idea where the product is cleverly embedded is no easy feat. Yamaha carefully considered tapping into the golden moments of these young women's lives - the first-time ownership of assets. The first motorcycle, the first mobile phone, the first bank card – these are memorable moments that signify self-affirmation. These moments are as emotionally stirring as a young love's first kiss.
Hence, the "Embarking on a Journey with Janus" campaign was born, with a solid reason-to-believe that it would be an essential part of these students' beautiful journey through university life.
Yamaha employed an Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) approach, including Content Videos, Digital, Events, and Promotions.
Released on September 6, 2017, the music video was a blend of catchy music and eye-catching visuals. Predictably, it garnered significant attention due to its engaging content. The song was composed by Only C, a renowned figure among the youth, ensuring that the music would resonate with the target audience.
The video's storyline revolved around Chi Pu portraying a first-year student, and Isaac as a handsome student smitten by her gentle beauty. The Janus scooters, in trendy gray and youthful pink, played essential roles in the storyline. The relatable and heartwarming scenes connected emotionally with the audience, making them either laugh in delight or reminisce about their "innocent youth."
Very few products manage to retain customer interest once they realize it's an advertisement. Yamaha, however, achieved this feat. The video evoked numerous positive responses, such as "Incredibly beautiful" and "Can't stop listening," creating a buzz among the audience. Yamaha even inspired people to create similar music-based content in the digital realm.
Running for a month from early October to late November, the cover contest for the song "Embarking on a Journey with Janus" tapped into the never-ending trend of youth engagement. Participants could cover the song or Isaac and Chi Pu's dance routines in their own style for a chance to win enticing prizes like trips, Janus scooters, and Samsung Galaxy J2 Prime phones.
While cover contests weren't novel, Yamaha added a twist. They provided the beat, lyrics, and a dance template to make participation more accessible. This demonstrated Yamaha's commitment to creating a genuine platform for young singing and dancing talents, fostering creativity and allowing them to shine.
Through this contest, the organizers aimed to create memorable moments for students and bring Janus scooters closer to them.
Concurrent with the contest were music events held at universities in Nha Trang (September 22), Hue (October 6), Da Lat (October 6-7), and Bac Lieu (October 13). Yamaha Janus opted for music events as they aligned with their youthful target audience. Moreover, to cater to the selfie craze of the youth, Yamaha designed vibrant and playful stage and photo areas for students to check in and engage.
In addition to captivating performances by popular singers, attendees could test drive Janus scooters, receive complimentary drinks, and participate in team-building games to enhance camaraderie and physical fitness. The games included Zorb Ball and Wheel Race. Yamaha distributed numerous cute prizes like notebooks, pens, shirts, water bottles, and essential items for students.
Through this campaign, Yamaha demonstrated a strong commitment to supporting students in their vibrant campus lives. To accomplish this, Yamaha had to study and understand its customers to pinpoint the most exciting moment in a student's life - the beginning of their university journey. For freshmen, this phase marks a critical transition into a new life.
Hence, the partnership with Samsung to launch the "Embarking on a Journey - Win Samsung Galaxy J2 Prime" promotion from August 21 to October 31, 2017. Anyone who purchased a Janus scooter from Yamaha Town dealers nationwide received a brand-new Samsung Galaxy J2 Prime smartphone. This promotion turned the aspirations of every student into reality.
The strategic and timely collaboration brought benefits to all parties involved (Yamaha, Samsung, and consumers) and achieved success on all fronts (sales and brand image). It showcased Yamaha's comprehensive and synchronized thinking, transcending typical localized marketing strategies. This promotion played a pivotal role, helping Yamaha sell 80,000 scooters and secure a 14% market share in the small scooter segment, a significant victory for Janus in terms of sales.
The 80% increase in business results compared to the same period in 2016 serves as the most resounding testament to the campaign's success, exceeding expectations for a conventional advertising campaign. Additionally, consumer preference for the Janus product saw a significant boost. Through the "Embarking on a Journey with Janus" campaign, the Yamaha brand strongly reinforced the core values of Janus (fashion) in the hearts of its audience.
The fascinating aspect is that, during the campaign's conceptualization, Yamaha minimized commercial aspects and seasoned it with numerous spiritual elements to create diverse emotions and memorable experiences for consumers, especially the lovely female Janus customers. With a "Customer First" philosophy, Yamaha achieved remarkable success, both in sales and brand image.
Without fanfare or extravagance, Yamaha meticulously attended to every detail of the product and the communication campaign to pamper the fashion-savvy ladies, ensuring they had unforgettable "youthful years." "Embarking on a Journey with Janus" left an indelible mark in the minds of consumers, paving the way for Yamaha to continue its "beautiful ride" in 2018.