Step Up

In its latest campaign, Bata promises to surprise you, if only you move over its stereotypical image

Bata has always been a family favourite, and a look at Bata’s ads over the decades tell you why. An old Bata Sandak ad, for instance, shows why everyone — right from the husband, his wife and kids to colleagues and the boss – opts for Bata footwear in their homes and offices and why it’s worth every penny. And its TVCs have always been that way: capturing everyday situations of the common man and his family to essentially establish itself as an affordable footwear brand made for mass. So, when Bata unveiled its latest TVC featuring actress Kriti Sanon, it’s unlike anything we’ve seen before. Sanon is invited to a Bata store, that she visits with the mindset of buying shoes for her mother, because that’s what Bata has always been known for. Surprisingly, she buys 20 pairs for herself and two pairs for her mother.

Most of Bata’s sub-brands have failed to cater to their audience. The brand faced a tough time to move away from it’s age-old perception of being a shoe brand that has little regard for fashion. So instead, the recent ‘Come & Be Surprised’ tagline is a call-to-action message. “Bata has had a problem for years. It attracts an older demographic and parents who come to get shoes for their kids. We wanted to change the perception of Bata being solely for comfort and introduce its new style creds to a younger audience with Red Label being the proof of that pudding,” says Ashish Chakravarty, chief creative officer, Contract Advertising.

Bata launched its global premium collection, Red Label, in India in mid-April 2018, and roped in actor Kriti Sanon as its brand ambassador. “The basic objective was to showcase the fashion makeover of Bata. We wanted to get onboard a celeb who appealed to the youth and could narrate her personal relationship with the brand, thereby making it less ‘ad-like’,” says Anand Narang, vice-president, marketing, Bata India.

Despite the celebrity factor, this is not the first time Bata has tried to up its hip factor. The 2017 ‘Me. and Comfortable With it’ campaign — keeping aside the negative reception by the audience — had intended to change Bata’s perception by appealing to the new-age woman who is comfortable in her own skin. This time around, the in-your-face ‘Surprisingly Bata’ campaign is an honest reflection about Bata’s predicament and how it has taken efforts to change its clientele. Of course, only time will tell if the gamble of shifting its target audience yet again will end well for Bata.