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Thursday, October 5, 2023

Self-Deprecation in the Time of Auto Hyperbole

Suzuki Australia runs hilarious tongue-in-cheek campaign designed by Deloitte Digital for its Baleno free talking upgrade.

CB Bureau | Singapore

Suzuki has taken the art of self-deprecation to another level of poker-faced humour. In its newest campaign for the rollout of their Baleno line of cars, the carmaker features a device that lets the vehicle to ‘communicate’ with drivers and passengers.

The copy describing the digital ad says: “Balenos are famous for being excellent quality, sexy little cars, that are packed with all the features you need. But, due to mounting pressure from the rest of the automotive industry to keep up with the latest feature gimmicks, Suzuki have now invested well over one hundred dollars in the development of this cutting edge technology — breaking the sound barrier between man and machine. That’s right, cars can now talk. Using Highly Advanced Birthday Card Technology, fitted to all new Balenos, Suzuki have succeeded where others have wasted millions of dollars, possibly billions, and it’s yours for free.” 

The Das Talkomobile TVC produced by Deloitte Digital for Suzuki Australia.

The operative expressions being “gimmicks” which required the company to invest “well over one hundred dollars in the development of this cutting-edge technology”. The expression almost threatened to spill over into “one hundred thousand dollars”, taking a not-so-veiled swipe at one particular European car major who introduced man-machine interactive features, spending top dollar. 

Poker-faced hyperbole had had a free run in “breaking the sound barrier between man and machine”. The digital campaign (shown below) features a raspy German-accented voice, talking about the new feature to comical effect. In the dealer demo video, potential buyers look amused and alarmed at once when the car lets loose the audio gimmick.   

Deloitte Digital created the new tongue-in-cheek campaign to promote what was called the “free talking upgrade”. “The device takes aim at the current car market climate, where manufacturers continue to add superfluous gimmicks and gadgets to their vehicles in order to sell units,” says the brand.

Baleno Talkomobile Dealer Demo

“Although packed with all the modern necessities, the new Suzuki Baleno is excellently priced because it doesn’t have the gimmicky features that tend to put the price up,” said Matt Lawson, Chief Creative Officer, Deloitte Digital. “Well, until now. This campaign is set in a parallel world, a world where Suzuki does gimmicks… and has a German accent.”

The campaign, called “Talkomobile”, will be promoted on TV and will be seen online and through socials, radio, podcast, and website. As of 6 January 2020, the digital has had a viewership of close to 2,65,000.

“In keeping with our ‘For Fun’s Sake’ brand platform, we’ve delivered this value proposition in a tongue-in-cheek way, while at the same time poking a bit of fun at premium European car brands,” said Daniel Mercuri, national marketing manager — automobile, Suzuki. “It’s early days, but from the teaser phase we’ve already seen huge engagement from our audience in a really positive way.”


Client: Suzuki Australia
Michael Pachota: General Manager – Automotive
Daniel Mercuri: National Marketing Manager – Automotive

Creative Consultancy: Deloitte Digital
Creative Brand & Advertising Partner: Adrian Mills
Chief Creative Officer & Partner: Matt Lawson
Executive Creative Director: Charles Baylis
Creative Director: Gustavo Vampre
Designer: Kyle Lotherington
TV Producer: Marlese Sloan
Group Account Director: Daniel Loukidis
Production Company – FINCH
Director: Toby Pike
Managing Director/Executive Producer: Corey Esse
Producer: AnnaTara Clark-Sneddon

Post Production – ATTICUS
VFX and Online: Drew Downes
Colourist and Online: Alina Bermingham

Post Production – ARC EDIT
Offline Editor: James Ashbolt
Senior Producer: Freya Maddock

Post Production – Motion Graphics: Hugo Hors

Sound – Squeak E. Clean Studios
Sound Designers: Paul Le Couteur & Ryan Dickinson
Sound Producer: Alice Vanderwey
Original Music Composition: Charlie White
Executive Creative Producer: Karla Henwood

Digital Production: VI
Kieren Redpath: Director
Kyle Redpath: Managing Director

Media: Noisy Beast
Ben Lynch: Group Media Director
Ashleigh Budgen: Media Account Director
James Franklin: Campaign Manager

Meanwhile, in India, after Suzuki entered into an alliance with Toyota for cross-badging the Baleno brand last year, though sales fell in the Suzuki stable initially mid-year, in December 2019, Baleno recorded a sales of 18,464 units and Glanza 1620. 

Both companies, however, say they aren’t particularly concerned about the numbers as the alliance would gain in the longer term with the partnership expected to cover more products and technology. 

Cross-badged vehicles are more or less the same with some nominal design changes. 


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