Unlikely Heroes

Disclaimer: I have oft repeated that I don’t write about Financial Services as a category (refer disclaimers). But this is an exception and would discuss only the brand.

Pretty recently a campaign broke out in National Media for Union Bank of India. It was pretty visible at least to me. I saw the ad on TV, hoardings on my way & back every day! A fairly large PSU Bank has again embarked on a mission to remind the customers about the brand after I think 3 years.

The campaign features Aruna Vishy, Ajit Tendulkar & Manoj Singh. Celebrities. NOT.

India and Indian family system is much interconnected. We are more social that the average social animal of the west. Family values are based on strong bondage and interdependence is very high within the members of the family.

Unlike the west, it is almost impossible to live alone and manage your life with the kind of facilities that are (or are not) available and one tends to depend on their immediate family a lot more than most other countries. Kids are under the aegis of their parents even till 24-25, while the average ‘walking out’ age in the west is 18 (or less)?

Beautiful insight. Transalated into communication by Union Bank of India.

The campaign features some unlikely heroes in their own way. Vishwanathan Anand’s wife, Sachin Tendulkar’s brother, and Vijender Singh’s brother, who are publicly known to be the pillars of support for the well known gods of their respective sporting discipline.

However, they were not in public eye till date.

Reems of paper and documentation have been made about Ajit Tendulkar. Sachin never forgets to mention his brother every time there is an accolade that is showered on him. But never has he been considered a celebrity. Till one views this campaign, chances are that they wouldn’t have seen Manoj Singh (Vijender’s brother). While Aruna has been in public eye before, I don’t remember her endorsing any brand.

Brilliant idea. It seems to fit with the brand’s communication well too. As a bank they claim to share your dream. Moot point being that one’s dream is never one’s alone! At least in the Indian context. This I believe is a fantastic premise for a brand to take. Especially one in the financial services space and that too – a large PSU Bank. Brings in the consumer closer to the brand in more than one way.

Using celebrity spouses or family members seems to be picking up in India. I remember Viru’s mom, now Aruna, Ajit & Manoj and Indian Cricket’s first lady Sakshi Dhoni. Snooky but viable idea. Make celebrities out of celebrity family members and get them cheap (at least relatively). I also believe that Abhishek (Aishwarya’s husband) is endorsing a few brands right? (Ha! My sarcastic self has to peep up someplace!)

However, I believe that the execution has its own minor glitches. The TVC is way too breezy and doesn’t get to the point. In the pretext of making it very classy, the point about driving home the key message is almost lost because the TVC is not crisp. Clearly the story could’ve been told in a 30 or 20 seconder rather than a 40. It almost sounds like the creative vs client argument. Client wants the story told shorter and the creative wants that extra 10 seconds. Things haven’t changed much in the last 5 years at least on this front 🙂

In all, I believe it is a great insight in the Indian context, but a not so great execution.

Must admit however that the advertising from PSU entities lately have been creative & catchy. That however has to be a separate discussion by itself!






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