Debrief:Toyota: Yeh Waku Doki kya hai, bhaiyya?

17 Jul,2012

By Anil Thakraney


It took me a lot of time to figure what in hell Waku Doki means. It sounded like Japanese to me, so I called a Jap pal for help. And he said it roughly means: ‘Excitedly waiting for something cool to happen’. Toyota has unleashed this Japanese colloquial phrase as the umbrella positioning for two of its brands: Fortuner and Etios. And the other common factor is cricketer Virat Kohli.


In the ad for Fortuner, Kohli says Waku Doki to a kid who’s bored of playing video games. In the ad for Etios, the young cricket sensation plays the same trick on a heart-broken gal. And no prizes for guessing that in these ads Waku Doki means hitting the road in a Toyota. And once the car comes into the picture, it’s back to the usual shots of interiors and exteriors. And speed and dirt tracks, etc, etc.


This is dicey stuff. Indians aren’t going to run around looking for a Jap-English dictionary to figure what Waku Doki means. And without that knowledge, the phrase means nothing, it’s pure nonsense. Which means Waku Doki adds no value whatsoever to the communication, and to think it’s the central idea! Worse, they are using it for multiple brands, so each individual brand story gets lost as we are left scratching our heads over Waku Doki.


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I suspect Toyota opted for a Jap phrase to highlight the Japanese association of the mother brand. Where was the need for that? Bachcha bachcha in India already knows Toyota is a Jap car maker. They would have been better served by coining a desi expression, something like ‘Jhingalala’. So that at the very least the communication doesn’t go over the head. Though frankly, these gimmicky phrases are suitable for low-involvement products like wafers and candies. And not for vehicles which will set you back by lakhs of rupees.


Rating: (On a scale of 1 to 5): 1. Incomprehensible and irrelevant.


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2 responses to “Debrief:Toyota: Yeh Waku Doki kya hai, bhaiyya?”

  1. Karanv1234 says:

    waku doki also means sprained neck

  2. Sachin Marathe says:

    Waku Doki Wasted