Monday, November 12, 2012

Indian Advertising Review - 3

The ICICI Bank Hukus Bukus TVC


By Gaurav Parab

Whether it is the physical act of going to one or logging online - I dont like dealing with banks. Bankers are evil. They meet in dark wood panelled rooms, speak in exotic languages ( Sieg Heil! Autobahn Bayern Munich), burp while listening to Mozart, tell you to read offer documents carefully and then wink. THEY WINK.

When a banker tells me something is good for me, I pray to God. Just once God. Just once. Help me survive this banker and I will sacrifice my neighbor's  first born at your doorstep.

My bank even sends me a freaking smiley everytime the home loan EMI is deducted. Thats how nasty they can be.

At the basic level, the most important thing a bank has to establish is trust. To ask someone to give them your money for safekeeping is not easy. But what is more challenging is selling complex financial products and schemes. While the rest of the world goes to sleep, bankers switch on their supercomputers to deal with this problem- pausing only to peer out of the window to wave at the vampire bhai log. 

"What up Edward. How is the quarter shaping out?"

Selling financial services is not easy. Having said that, at a broader level - the possible choices of marketing a rewards program is slightly easier. And therein lies the trap which every mediocre creative chava falls into. 'Surprise' translates to a box with girly ribbons tied to it and joy is a broad smile on someone's face.

The ICICI bank TVC, thanks to flawless execution, goes around all these traps and spins such a heart warming tale around kids and candy. Right from the brilliant music, which took me back to the good old Doordarshan days, the almost magical location, to the little girl with the absolutely pure GOLD smile.

Trust me I dont like kids in ads. The last genuinely cute kid was probably that Sardar kid in the Maruti Ad who said, Papa Petrol Khattam hi nahin Hoonda.

Let me speak about the little girl for a while. Her face, her indecision on taking the candy, and finally that little skip she does on getting that 'reward' is so hearwarming that everytime the ad runs on TV, a little campfire starts deep inside my heart and miniature little me's start singing with joy with guitar and all - about mountains and mists, and school, and memories from the past.

Very well done Ogilvy. And what I love is showing the shopkeeper as that khadoos fellow who ultimately means well. They could have gone the other way, and shown the bank as a warm fat little santa with a Satish Shah sort of genuine smile althrough the initial candy transactions-  but they did not. Kudos for that.  The contrast between the old man and the kids could not have been more stark, which only adds to the 'surprise' at the end and the overall relationship they manage to establish.

And lastly the recall. I think this is something ICICI has always managed to pull off thanks to the ICICI tune and red visual elements around their campaigns. While I also loved the Union Bank of India's Your Dreams are not Your dreams Alone message ( What brilliance), and a couple of campaigns from SBI and Axis- the problem in the Financial Service market is one cannot remember who the ad was for. Basic issue, but very prevalanet. But the connect with ICICI has always been good, so this one passes on that front as well.

Now, one word of advice- dont overdo it by using these angel kids again and again. A one off reverse sweep is wise - but repeating it again and again is what Arun Lal would call ' Trying to be cute'.  And it just becomes damn irritating if cuteness is overstretched. The Zoo Zoos are a case in point.

Previously, on this blog