When Suzuki launched in the Hong Kong market, the brand had no pedigree with consumers. It was seen as an inexpensive brand that offered up no degree of “class” in an expensive car market.
After conducting new research and several focus groups, it was decided that the Suzuki campaign would be targeted at a young audience with the main benefit being that the car has real zip – it’s fast, and uses very little petrol /gas compared with big expensive cars. The campaign lead the way with full page colour ads that featured a red chilli pepper (meaning = hot, spicy, sharp). Smaller ads featuring red hot chilli peppers appeared in magazines, on billboards and in the Hong Kong MRT (subway). Contests were conducted on radio shows where consumers were to report on their Suzuki-dealer (Inchcape Motors) test drives—to win free dinners and trips to “spicy” Thailand.
The new introductory campaign was very successful selling twice as many cars as Suzuki had hoped in its first year of launch. The car went on to be called the “Chilli Car” given its personality and positioning in the market, a name Suzuki continued to use for the next 4 years.