What did you do when you were 25 years old? Kotak Mahindra Bank is asking just that, as it nears its twenty-fifth anniversary. On November 21, and the bank, which operated as a non-banking financial services company until 2003 when it was awarded a banking licence, will turn 25. And Kotak Mahindra intends to make a big splash about it.
With communication partners Cartwheel Creatives, Starcom MediaVest Group, Interactive Avenues and Genesis Burson-Marsteller, the bank has designed a strategic campaign to mark the occasion.
The TVCs feature little snippets, where people from different walks of life talk about anything significant that they associate with 25 years of age. For instance, in one commercial, a senior citizen reveals that he sported a ponytail when he was 25, and stresses on it vehemently for anybody who would think otherwise.
Another TVC features an office executive eating a 'vada-pav', saying that when he was 25, the snack used to be his staple food, and continues to be so.
Around 10 such short commercials will be on air from November 21-25. The films have been directed by Cartwheel's Suman Bhattacharya.
Talking to afaqs!, Karthi Marshan, executive vice-president and group head - marketing, Kotak Mahindra says, "The celebrations began internally as we entered our twenty-fifth year earlier this year. Now, this campaign shall mark this occasion in a fashion as engaging as possible."
The communication attempts to position the bank as a youthful and exuberant brand. While Marshan acknowledges that other banks have been around for much longer; from a marketing perspective, he is of the view that the number 25 is actually the USP, with no other bank making such a claim this year.
"From a marketing standpoint, none of my peers will say this. We saw it as a juicy opportunity to pass the message, ensuring that the brand used is Kotak Mahindra Bank and not just Kotak Mahindra. For a financial brand, this is an opportunity to lift the brand value and highlight the attributes of reliability and trust," he says.
Noting that the twenty-fifth year is seen by many as a milestone in their life, the strategy of the bank has been to bring together a human insight and a corporate brand.
"Twenty-five is a wonderful age to be. It represents youth, exuberance and free spiritedness. We felt that all the qualities of this age ought to be desirable in a corporate brand and saw it as an opportunity. It makes the company a nice partner to do business with," says D Ramakrishna, executive director, Cartwheel Creatives.
It must be noted that Cartwheel has been brought on-board by Kotak Mahindra specifically for this campaign. The group otherwise works with McCann Erickson and JWT; but chose Cartwheel because it did not want to burden its existing agencies, and was also looking at slightly diverging focus.
Another interesting part of the campaign is that the TVCs will be aired during primetime for three hours, through an exercise that is being called the Break Bumper. That is, the ads will be the first ones to be seen as soon as a commercial break begins, ensuring maximum eyeballs.
"We understand the viewership of ads tends to be lower through the commercial breaks. The bet here is the Break Bumper will ensure 100 per cent audience viewership, because it will begin before one can even know the break has begun," says Marshan.
"We are cutting into commercial breaks with a pre-break idea. Channels generally do not take long ads immediately as a break begins. These 10-seconders lets us says a lot of things in a short time," further explains Natraj Sharma, general manager, Starcom MediaVest Group.
During the five days that the campaign is being planned for, the commercials will be aired on news channels from November 21. On general entertainment channels, it will begin more aggressively only the next day. Viewership on GECs generally takes a dip on Sundays, notes Sharma.
Besides the TVCs, a large-scale print campaign will also be launched only on November 21. This will be supported by a fair amount of outdoor promotions in the top eight Indian metros, which would include Mumbai, New Delhi and Bengaluru, and engaging exercises through radio, mobile and the internet.
Kotak Mahindra, while not known for having high ad spends, is clearly looking to make the maximum impact with a limited time campaign, at a reasonable cost.
"Kotak has never been a big spender on advertising. With this media strategy, however, we are looking to pass the relevant message in an engaging way, keeping it impactful and yet inexpensive," Marshan says.