Fastrack is an Indian accessories brand selling watches, sunglasses
and bags. Titan Company – a part of Tata Group, and the fifth largest
watch manufacturer in the world – launched Fastrack in 1998, as
a youth-orientated challenger brand within its portfolio; today it
is Titan’s fastest-growing brand.
Targeting Indian millennials, Fastrack offers the range of affordable
and sporty products you would expect for this demographic.
But the brand is as well known in India for provocative advertising
that takes an Enlightened Zagger stance, connecting with a young
Indian mindset and challenging societal attitudes. In 2013, for instance,
the same year a Supreme Court ruling upheld a law criminalising
same-sex relationships in India, Fastrack launched a TV campaign
called ‘The Closet’, which showed two young women exiting a
previously rocking wardrobe, one after the other. The ad closed
with the line ‘Come out of the closet’, followed by the brand’s
‘Move on’ tagline. Considered the first lesbian TV commercial in
India, it exemplifies the youth brand’s consistent challenging of
established ways of thinking and contextual societal attitudes.
The big idea: Calling out a world obsessed with image.
In 2017, Fastrack aired a new TV campaign called ‘Shut the fake up’,
in which it playfully challenged social media’s tendency to develop
relationships based upon a superficial and carefully curated image,
rather than on a genuine, real-world understanding and connection.
The spot ran two dating relationship scenarios in succession.
The first relationship was experienced predominantly through social
media, with communication based upon selfies, hashtags, internet
memes and ‘likes’. The second scenario showed the same couple
having a face to face conversation in a local bar over plenty of flirty
eye contact; the relationship, of course, being all the better for the
absence of smartphones.
If the commercial’s playfulness reflects the Fastrack brand, the
underlying enlightened stance the brand is suggesting around digital
obsession is, of course, a more serious one: every week seems to see
the publication of a new study questioning the relationship between
social media and happiness, particularly among the young. There is
no pretence at any deep sense of purpose here, and the execution
of the commercial is not going to trouble the award juries at Cannes
Lions (Fastrack’s products provide many of the cheesy talking points
between the pair in this second scenario), but Fastrack remains
a good example of how finding a simple contextual surface to
rub up against can help define a young challenger brand’s overall
attitude and stance.