Iconic Ads: Suzuki Samurai – No Problem

It was an ‘all-rounder’ bike. The drivability was very good. It could go fast enough and manoeuvrability was good.

There was a period in the mid-1990s when an aggressive TVS Suzuki launched a new brand or variant nearly every year. Among the launches were the AX 100, Supra, Shogun, etc., and the Samurai.

The Suzuki Samurai had a powerful engine and came loaded with features. It had round headlamps (remember it was the 90s!), telescopic hydraulic shock absorbers, expanding drum brakes, and a large 12-litre chiselled petrol tank. Plus an impressive design along with some cool graphics.

It was targeted at youth and young executives who liked to drive around, be it for work or pleasure.

It was an ‘all-rounder’ bike. The drivability was very good. It could go fast enough, and manoeuvrability was good. It was used for city commuting, dirt bikers used it, and so did rally enthusiasts.

The creative mandate was with Ambience.

Amish Chinai, who was ‘driving’ creative for the brand, remembers…


At the time, there were only 100-cc bikes available on the market, and every brand had one: Yamaha, Honda, and Suzuki. All these bikes were pretty much identical to each other in performance, speed, mileage, etc.

The beauty of the 100-cc Suzuki Samurai was its simplicity, due to which very little could go wrong with the bike, making it reliable. Hence, to stand out in a crowd of identical bikes, based on that insight, the team at Ambience came up with the direction (brief) of positioning the Suzuki Samurai as the No Problem Bike.

The Idea and Script

As Creative Director and Copywriter at Ambience, we had decided to work with a production house called White Light, which we had worked with in the past, and they had done a lot of good work for us. In those days, there were only a handful of reputed production houses, and they pretty much shared all the work that came out of the bigger ad agencies.

While coming up with the script, I worked very closely with Subir Chatterji (the director of White Light). We spent several hours in their office banging out different scripts and ideas for “No Problem Bike”. And after many different versions, we simplified it down to the final script. This is, of course, about a Japanese man (Suzuki is a Japanese brand) standing next to the bike when a person comes over and starts to ask questions about the bike. He doesn’t realise that that Japanese man only speaks two words of English, “No Problem,” and hence assumes that is the answer to his questions. Finally, he asks for a test drive and again gets the same positive answer. As he rides off, the actual owner of the bike comes running behind him.

Our (Ambience) relationship with the client was very good, and getting the film approved was “No Problem”.

The film was shot in RCF Thane (if I recall correctly) and was produced and directed by Subir Chatterjee and Namita Ghose of White Light.

What most people don’t know is that the Japanese gentleman in the film isn’t Japanese at all; he was the Maître D of a Chinese restaurant called Kamling.

The ad, of course, was a huge hit when it came out and won us over 50 awards. The funny thing is that we didn’t even enter it for 50 award shows. People were awarding it on their own; e.g., Madras Ad Club and various other bodies and institutions would give it the ‘Gold’ and send the trophy to our office and that’s when we realised that, hey! we won another one

No Problem!

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