Happy mcgarrybowen’s #PehniKya campaign for Maruti Suzuki needs to be seen right now

Indians are one of the most optimistic group of people. Phrases like “Achhe logo ke saath achha hee hota hai“, and “Bhagwan jo karega achha hee karega“, has made us believe that nothing catastrophically wrong will ever happen to us. This has far reaching consequences, because this has also made us believe that we will never be part of a life threatening road accident and hence we don’t require a seat belt.

Enter Maruti Suzuki.

Through their award winning campaign, Maruti Suzuki is aiming to create awareness and promote seat belt usage among drivers and passengers by encouraging us to ask one simple question every time we sit in a car – #PehniKya?

The idea, which has been conceived by Happy mcgarrybowen, a creative unit of Dentsu Aegis Network, focuses on driving this behaviour change among car users in India. Road accidents and fatalities are a national concern. Seat belt usage is as low as 25% in India. In 2016, not wearing seat belts resulted in 5,638 fatalities, fifty percent of which could be prevented through use of seat belts. So if you’ve been thinking that your clothes are getting spoiled, or that your selfies won’t look good, please think again.

To drive the point home, the brand’s TVC revolves around a kid trying to stop his father from leaving for work in his car. Yes, you have probably guessed the reason, but check out how crisply the message is communicated.

The message is not only simple but it is also thought provoking. We are far more impacted when such a message comes from a family member, and hence the construct of the TVC around the son and the father resonates even more with the Indian audience.

PM Praveen Das, Chief Creative Officer & MD said, “Maruti Suzuki has been doing stellar work in the area of road safety. We were very excited to work on their latest campaign on the seat belt initiative. Drawing from research we decided to keep the message simple and thought provoking, thus was born #PehniKya? Another key insight that was validated by research was that people would be far more impacted if the message came from a family member. Hence, the construct of the TVC. The film captures the simple emotion of love of a son for his father.”

The campaign has been winning hearts all over the country, and has already been merited with the following awards –

– NDTV Car & Bike Awards 2018 – HDFC Ergo Safety Award 2018 – 1st runner up

– NDTV CNB Best PR & Marketing Communication Team of the Year 2018 – Cars – Winner

The campaign is also running across print, digital platforms and radio. The creative for the print ads issued across major mainlines, financials and regional publications, is simple, fact based and striking, to create a high impact on the readers. The evocative radio spots are designed to break myths around the usage of seat belts and highlight the importance of the seat belt as a safety device. For example, they targeted a few common traits like –

“I have enough contacts to let this bother me”

“I have done this for way too long, and nothing has ever happened to me before”

“I am not going to spoil my expensive shirt for this”.


So next time you sit in car, don’t forget to ask your family and friends – #PehniKya?

Or you can actually do one better, and ensure this is the first song you play in the car.